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Choosing Search Terms – CSU-Global Library

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Choosing Search Terms – CSU-Global Library


Choosing search terms for a database can be
difficult and frustrating when you retrieve very few results, or way too many irrelevant
results. Library Databases work similarly to web search
engines such as Google, but oftentimes searches in databases may have to be slightly different
than searches on the web. While many web search engines work well with
whole questions or ideas such as “What time is it in Korea?” or “The number of Cats
in America”, Library databases rely on keyword searching and search entire articles for all
of your keywords and return the results. Entering a sentence or a question into a library
database will probably return poor and irrelevant results. Instead, you can identify the main ideas in
your topic, and use these keyword in your searches. Let’s take a look at this example thesis
and find some search terms: Farm subsidies are part of a national strategic
economic policy, and it is important that subsidies continue for the benefit of the
entire nation. Some main ideas might be: Farm subsidies and
economic policy Let’s try these in a search, using capital
AND between the keywords, which ensures the database will only find materials with both
terms. Quotations around phrases can search for words
together in that order. These can narrow your searches. In order to expand your searches, you can
use synonyms for your keywords. Many databases will offer suggestions and
subject terms, which you can use to search further for articles about your topic. For more assistance finding relevant databases
to search, or help with generating search terms or strategies, the library is here to
help at [email protected] For help 24 hours a day, you can use our 24/7
Library chat, right from the library homepage.

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