Search Basics

Evalute the Content

Content Analysis
Scope
  • Breadth
  • General or specialized
Intended audience
  • Technical or basic
  • Objective reasoning
  • Fact, opinion or propaganda
  • Valid & well-researched or unsupported
  • Note errors or omissions
  • In line with other works or radical departure
  • Objective and impartial or emotional
Coverage
  • Primary or secondary
  • Update and substantiate or add new information
  • Extensive or marginal
AUTHORITY - TIMELINESS - ACCURACY

Helpful Hints

Save your work in more than one place!
Organize your information
Save your search strategy and reuse it
Keep track of where you have looked
  • Which search strategies/locations worked
  • Which didn’t
Take advantage of database or journal alert services
Find out who the experts are
Look for good references/bibliographies
DON'T WASTE TIME - ASK FOR HELP EARLY

Failed Searches

If your search isn't returning any results, too many results or not the ones you expected, ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Did you misspell any words?
  • Are there too many ANDs? (They reduce results.)
  • Are there too many ORs (They increase the results)
  • Punctuation?
  • Truncation error? Wrong symbol? Wrong placement?
  • Incorrect phrasing of title?
  • Did you misremember the title?
  • Accidentally searching title field instead of keyword?
  • Incorrectly understanding system defaults (default OR, for example)?
  • Are you using synonyms or acronyms?
  • Are you in the right or best database/search engine?