Can’t find any articles:

1. Make sure you’re in the right database. Some databases such as EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier cover a wide range of subjects. Most databases, however, focus on a specific subject: PsycInfo for psychology, Criminal Justice Abstracts for criminal justice, and Infotrac Health Reference Center for medicine and health. LEXIS-NEXIS has different sections for news, law, business and medicine.

To choose an appropriate database, go to Electronic Information Sources (from the library’s homepage and use the Browse Databases by Broad Subject pull down menu.

2. Don’t type whole sentences using “of,” “the,” “by,” or “to” in the search box. Most databases do not search like Google. Combine keywords and phrases using the words and or or.

Type: weapons and mass destruction and terrorists
Instead of: the use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists

3. Try other words to describe your topic. Be creative with keywords that may have the same meaning.

4. Try a more general search. Broaden your topic to a more general concept OR use a single keyword instead
of combining keywords or phrases.

Type: child abuse and new york
Instead of: child abuse and new york city

5. DON’T CHANGE the database settings. The Library has set most databases to search for your terms in the article’s title, abstract (summary) AND subject headings simultaneously.

Found only a few good articles:

1. Look at the bibliography of articles you’ve already found. A good source for additional material.

2. Try a more general search. Broaden your topic OR use a single keyword instead of combining keywords.

3. Try other words to describe your topic. Read the abstract (summary) of the good articles you found for
new keywords.

4. Use subject headings or descriptors given by the database. Look at the subject headings or descriptors assigned to the articles you like. Either click on those headings or try a new search using those terms as keywords.

Found too many articles:

1. Narrow your topic. Try another search using and to combine your keyword with a more narrow term.

Type: cloning and ethics OR cloning and law OR cloning and medicine
Instead of: cloning

2. Limit your search by date or type of material. You may want to limit your articles to the past 6 months, scholarly journals, or experiments. Each database has different ways to limit a search. Check the
HELP screens in the database you’re searching.


Last updated: 9/28/2004