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Research Process: Search Tips

What is the research process? This will cover: Creating a problem statement, creating research question(s), conducting a literature review, selecting research methods, and quantifying & presenting results.

Search Tips

The databases operate a little differently than Google.  Here are some tips to get better results quickly and spend less time searching.

1.  Don't use full sentences!  Break your search into key words


2. AND--   When you AND search words, you get less hits/results, but they are more accurate.

Ex. exxon AND suppliers   Ex. airlines AND economics


3.  OR -- When you OR search words, you get more hits/results, but they may be less accurate.  You can use OR with synonyms.

 Ex. statistics OR demographics   Ex.  suppliers OR distributors OR "supply chain" 


4. "quotation marks" -- When you use quotation marks, you get less hits/results, but they are more accurate.

You must have 2 or more words to use quotations.  It should be a common phrase.  

Ex. "united states"   Ex. "supply chain"


5. * -- When you use *, you get more hits/results, but they may be less accurate.  * searches for all forms of a word at once.

Ex. econo* = economic, economics, economies, economy, economical, etc.

Ex. financ* = finance, finances, financial, etc.      whereas  finance* = finance, finances


6. NOT --When you NOT words, you get less hits/results, but they are more accurate. You can  NOT a term that you want to weed out of a result list.

Ex. "yum brands" NOT delicious       Ex.  alcohol NOT prohibition


7.  Mix and Match-- You can mix and match these tips

Ex. (statistic* OR demographic*) AND suppl* AND "united states" AND exxon

Ex. ("social responsiblity" OR csr OR ethic*) AND starbucks