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Research Skills

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The amount of information returned from a search on your subject or topic can be overwhelming. The good news is that there are a number of skills and techniques that can be used that will help you find the quality academic information.


Use these search tips in the library's Search + Find search engine and the library databases to save time and find more relevant sources and information for your research and assignments.

Searching image1. Define your topic and break it down into component concepts

2. Choose keywords, think of synonyms, abbreviations, alternative spelling

3. Combine keywords - using Boolean operators to structure the search

4. Use truncation to broaden your search

5. Use advanced techniques such as field searching and controlled vocabulary

6. Refine search results

7. Reflect on the results you find. Make sure they are relevant, look at subject terms

Don't limit yourself to one set of results or one database.

Search a database that covers many subjects (e.g., Academic Search Complete or ScienceDirect) as well as a subject-specialized database. The same search phrase input in two separate databases can bring up very different results. If your topic incorporates more than one major subject area, try searching two databases that cover both your individual topics - Try the same search across multiple databases.


Too Few OR Too Many Results


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