Oesterle Library News

Database Searching: KISS, KISS (Keep It Simple, Student)

Having trouble with your search for those “five scholarly sources” that your assignment requires? Let’s assume you have already done a bit of background reading and found your way to one of the library databases. (If you haven’t, try the Research by Subject pages). Pick the two or three main components of your topic and reduce each to one or two words.

Example: A paper exploring the legal issues surrounding marriage equality in the United States. Here’s a good start:

Here’s an equally good place to start that actually gives us different results than the other search:

Here’s the most important part: If you don’t like what you get, don’t give up, just try a few different terms and see what happens. Or – add a third search term to make the search more specific. Really look at the result list items and if you find a good one, look at the article and see if there are frequently-occurring words or phrases. Then use those in your search to get more like it!

After examining my results for the above searches, I discovered a few new terms and realized that I need to make sure my articles are all about the United States:

And as always, we are here to help via phone, chat, email, text AND in person.

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