Tips for Better Searching

Before you start searching

  • Focus your inquiry. What is the question you are trying to answer?
  • Set parameters or guidelines for your search. How much information is needed? Do you need current sources or is back coverage important?
  • Think about the kind of information you need. Can you use popular source materials or do you need academic or government research? Are you looking for a particular publication?
  • Identify key concepts and create a list of search terms. Decide which terms are essential or most important to your search.
  • Select the most appropriate database for your inquiry. You may want to try multiple sources.

Finding the source material

  • If the article is available in full text through the database you are using, print, save it to your computer or flash drive, or e-mail it to yourself.
  • If the information you need is not available in full text, write down enough information to identify the article or book and request Interlibrary Loan service from your local library.

How do I search?