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History 100 (Malloy): Searching Strategically

The Historian's Craft

Be Strategic in Your Searching

  • Select an appropriate search tool. Consider your subject matter, discipline, type of information needed, etc. 
  • Note key concepts (nouns) that relate to your topic.
  • Construct a search using 2-4 key concepts and Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), truncation, and/or quotation marks.
  • Incorporate appropriate limiters, such as date, type of article, language, etc. before conducting the search or after viewing the results list.
  • Skim results; read abstracts to determine an article's relevance.
  • Leverage subject terms to direct you to other articles with the same tags.
  • Revise search as needed. Consider using other terminology you discover from titles and descriptors. 
  • Locate the full-text of an article either through a HTML/PDF link, UCeLinks button, or request it from another library (Interlibrary Loan).
  • Review a relevant source's reference list to locate other articles, books, or authors who have written on the same topic. 
  • If you're not finding information that exactly matches your topic, use pieces of information from sources that are related.

Research 101: Searching is Strategic