Skip to main content

BIOL/PHIL 305 - Ethics, Science, Medicine, Tech: Basic Search Skills

Search Everything

The search box on the library's main page allows users to search for books, DVDs, videos, academic journals, magazines, newspapers, scholarly articles and more from one search box. If you're trying to access a book or article you already know about, you can enter the title or author's name here. If you're looking to find material about a specific topic, try entering two or three keywords that are likely to appear in discussions of that topic.

Main search box on the library's homepage

 

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the words you use to search for anything online and they determine how successful your search is. If you're researching the links between poverty and obesity in children, for instance, the most important keywords would be: poverty, obesity, children. Database searches usually work better when you only enter 2-4 essential keywords than when you enter a complete sentence or question.

Here a couple of common problems you may run into and ways to fix them using keywords:

I'm getting too many results!

  • use keywords that are more specific (not as general)
  • add additional keywords to your search
I'm getting too few results!
  • ‚Äčuse keywords that are less specific (more general)
  • remove keywords from your search
These results are not what I'm looking for!
  • try different combinations of keywords
  • think of synonyms for your keywords

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do I Refine my Search Results?

From your list of results, use the "Refine Results" tools on the left side of the screen to narrow your search. You can limit by publication date, source type, publisher, geography, language and more. 

Advanced Search Tips

This tutorial introduces a few advanced search techniques that may come in handy when searching in online databases--Boolean searching (using AND, OR, NOT), phrase searching, and truncation. It was created by Kate Cushon for the Archer Library at Canada's University of Regina and is used here with permission granted under a Creative Commons attribution license.

(If you're really pressed for time, start at 0:48 and watch until 4:25. Those are the best, most broadly relevant parts.)

 

Need Help Searching?

Check out our Research Help guide for tips on searching the databases.