ENG 2100: Writing I - Film Criticism

How to Search a Database

First, Choose a Database. Databases have subject strengths. At Newman Library browse a list of databases by subject.

Then, Brainstorm Keywords - Most databases, unlike Google, don't use a single search box where you enter a string of words. Instead break your research question down into one or more concepts. Develop keywords to describe each concept.

Boolean operators (or logical connectors) -- AND, OR, and NOT-- are used to link keywords in search statements.  Boolean operators are used to broaden or narrow a search. 

AND Keywords combined with AND will retrieve records only where both terms appear.

AND is used to narrow a search

Example:   Avon AND market share 

OR Keywords combined with OR will retrieve records where either one or both terms appear.

OR is used to broaden a search 

Example:   hmo OR health maintenance organization 

Truncation – Truncation allows you to search for plurals or other variant endings of a word. Add a “wildcard” symbol to stand for one or more characters at the end of the word stem.

Example: Downsize* will retrieve downsized or downsizing

Example: wom*n will retrieve woman or women

Be Careful: cat* will retrieve cats, category, catastrophe

What is Find It!

Find at CUNY

When a database does not include the fulltext of an article, use the Find it! @ CUNY button.

Find it! will link you to the fulltext if it is available in another database.

If the article is not available through Find it!, request the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Articles will be sent to your Baruchmail within 1 to 3 days.

Personal Search Tools

Your mental attitude plays a big part in designing and executing a successful search. Try to develop these personal search tools:

Creativity – Be ready to explore. Think outside the box. Try many keywords.

Skepticism – Don’t trust the first source. Why was it ranked highly? Evaluate.

Persistence – Be patient when searching. Don’t give up if your first search fails. Don’t expect the “perfect” result. Don’t work under time pressure. Searching is iterative.  Build on what you learn from the results. Use more than one database.

Mental Clarity – “The best search engine is your brain.” Don’t panic. Don’t thrash about – try to think clearly and be systematic in your search.  Don’t let your emotions rule even if you are confused, frustrated or overwhelmed.