Need to find scholarly articles written on your topic but not sure how to start? To be successful in your research process you need to create quality searches in the correct resources. This can be a difficult and somewhat overwhelming process. This blog entry will help you transform your Google search into a potential database search.
The way that you search within an article database is different than how you might search on Google. If you try to search for your topic as sentence in the database, like you might on Google, you will have a hard time finding relevant results. Instead, you need to break down your topic into the most important elements to then create a search string. Before jumping into your research you should spend a few minutes brainstorming keywords to help form search strings about your topic. You can think of keywords as how you might “tag” your topic.
Now that you have thought about some terms that might be in articles about your desired subject the trick is to create search strings that incorporate those keywords as well as the rules databases use to run their search algorithms.
Databases use search algorithms to mine thru the great amount of information the databases have. Therefore, it is important to use the search syntax or searching rules that will provide you with the best results. This means you need to use the Boolean operators of: AND, OR, NOT to create search strings using your keywords.
Other Advanced Search Techniques:
Putting it All Together:
Example 1. Topic: You are writing a paper looking at the movement for human rights in China.
Example 2. You are writing a persuasive pro/con paper on the issue of corporate farming and animal rights.
The last piece of the puzzle is finding the correct database to perform these searches. Check out the research guide in the subject area you are working within to get a list of preferred databases for that topic. These would be listed under the Article tab. The Reference Desk and subject specialty Librarians are also great resources to ask if you are stuck on which database to search in on your topic! Now that you understand the basics of search strategy, you will be much more successful in finding your desired results!