Created by Leonard Lief Library, Lehman College, CUNY
Choose a Subject Database. Start your search with a multidisciplinary database like Academic Search or choose a database for your subject.
Brainstorm Keywords. Break your research question down into one or more concepts. Use keywords to describe each concept.
Use AND, OR, and NOT to link keywords in your search. AND will narrow a search. Or will broaden 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 strategy
OR Keywords combined with OR will retrieve records where either one or both terms appear.
OR is used to broaden a search
Example: competition OR competitors
Phrase Searching. You must put quotes around a phrase. Example: "global warming"
Truncate Your Keywords. Search for plurals or other variant endings of a word by adding an asterisk at the end of the word stem.
Example: Downsiz* will retrieve downsized or downsizing
Example: wom*n will retrieve woman or women
Be Careful: cat* will retrieve cats, category, catastrophe
Search with Fields. Look for a drop-down menu next to the keyword box and select a "Field" to target your search. Expand your search with the "Full Text" field or select the field for Title, Abstract, Company Name, or Subject.
Be Creative. Your mental attitude plays a big part in designing and executing a successful search. Explore. Don't give up if your first search fails. Be patient. Use more than one database. Ask a Librarian for help.