Watch this brief video to see how complex search strategies may work for a research topic.
Courtesy of the NCSU Libraries CC 3.0 BY-NC-SA
When searching in a database or one of the library's search tools you want to structure your search differently than you would in a regular web search (like Google or Bing). Instead of typing in your research question, try formatting it in a way similar to the example below.
Example: You want to search for articles on the stresses experienced by first-generation college students. Try using the following search:
This search incorporates three techniques: keywords, punctuation marks, and boolean operators. See the boxes below for more details.
Key words are a series of words or short phrases that describe your topic.
In the search example above, articles could use either word -- college or university. There are ways to include both in your search.
When you include phrases in your search you are telling the database that you want those words in a specific order.
Where you want multiple words that start with the same series of letters, you can use truncation symbols to include all of these word in your search.
See the boxes below to learn how to put it all together.
In the search above there are a few techniques employed:
In the search above we also use connector words known as Boolean Operators. Each of these has a specific function when you include it in your search.