Answered By: Samford University Library Reference
Last Updated: Apr 27, 2015     Views: 4

There are many methods for improving searches. For a video tutorial on improving your searches, go here. You can also always ASK US for help! 

There are a few simple tips that can start you off.

1. Define your keywords carefully. Do not search using full sentences. Select a few keywords that define the subject and objects of your question.

For example: If I wanted to know about the impact of technology in the classroom, my questions is "What impact does technology have on education?" My keywords would be: technology and education. I might add impact or effect as well. Be mindful of synonyms!

2. Narrow down to a topic that is specific and focused enough for your assignment. If you are writing a 7 page paper, you don't want a topic that will require 20 to write about! My above example, for instance, is really too broad! I could add elements to narrow it down and focus my search.

For example: I might look at high school education in the United States. So my question becomes "What impact does technology have on high school education in the United States?" I could search using the keywords technology education and "high school". Many databases also have a geographic limiter that I could use to limit to only articles about the United States. 

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