- The most efficient way to search = Keyword Searching
- Database search engines (or Google, Bing, etc.) bring back any result that contains the exact word(s) that you put into the search box – no more, no less.
- If you do a one-word search, you will get many results quickly (like a Google search), but many will not actually be focused on your topic.
- But if you use several ‘keywords’ to describe your topic - and add the word AND (in capital letters) in between them - the search engine will bring back a more focused set of results.
- You 'told' the search engine that you only wanted the results that had every keyword in them.
- Most of our databases have an ‘Advanced’ search page where you can put multiple search words in multiple search boxes, with the AND already in between them.
Example: You’re writing a paper about the portrayal of women’s body image in media.
Try: women AND images AND media
body AND image AND women AND media
You’re not always going to get the perfect set of results from the first search you run.
- Your search - and your 'search query' - evolves as you go along.
- You may find alternate words and synonyms...
- in result titles
- in the abstract (the short synopsis of what the book or article is about)
- within the book or article’s text
- in subject terms / indexing terms (the words that databases use to ‘file’ / index their documents).
- A search result's 'indexing terms' are often listed somewhere near the search result's abstract.