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Creative Technologies


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Arvind Kang

Essential Search Tips

AND finds records with all of your terms/keywords and narrows your search.

OR finds records with any of the terms and broadens your search.

Truncation finds records with a term's various endings. For example, animat= animate, animated, animation, etc. 

Quotation marks search for a phrase instead of individual words. For example, "social media".

Fixing Search Problems

Zero Results

  • first check your spelling :). And don't forget that British (labour) and American (labor) spelling might effect your search results
  • try using a term that might be more inclusive. For example, if your search yields no results for "twitter posts", then try twitter, or even try "social media"

Too Few Results

  • use truncation and OR (ie. baby OR babies OR infant* OR toddler*), to expand the results
  • search for articles listed in the bibliographies at the end of relevant articles that you do find
  • perform an Author field search for the names of relevant authors who are listed in these bibliographies
  • click on Find Similar Results (Ebsco databases) or Find more documents like this (Proquest) from the full record page of a relevant article
  • try References (Proquest) on the search results page for more references

Non-relevant Results

  • use proper subject headings. For example, instead of streaming, try "streaming media" or "streaming services"
  • find a relevant article in your list of results, and use its proper subject headings to redo your search
  • use the Subject limiter to focus on particular subjects of study

Too Many Results

  • if your search yields too many results (ie. streaming), use AND to make it more specific (ie. streaming AND media AND covid-19)
  • search for your terms in the Title field (from the pull-down menu on the search box or in advanced search on Page1+)
  • use database-specific proper Subject headings
  • use more limiters (ie. date range, publication type, special interest groupings, document type, journal title etc).

Finding Peer Reviewed Articles

Peer reviewed articles have undergone a process of evaluation by subject specific experts (peers) to ensure that information is accurate, high quality, and academically sound. Peer reviewed articles contain original research to be shared with researchers and other professionals.

Not all articles are peer reviewed. To find peer reviewed articles:

  • Look for a "Peer Review" or "refereed" search limiter when conducting your search (see example below)
  • Check the website of the publication your article was published in. Most journals will state whether the articles within are peer reviewed.