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.