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