This 2-page handout describes some search techniques and how to connect to full text articles after doing a database search.
Build more effective searches by learning about "Boolean operators" when connecting your search terms.
Use 2 or 3 significant words or terms from your research topic
Develop synonyms and alternative terms
Try a broader concept if a specific term doesn't retrieve enough results
Try a more specific aspect or element if you get too many results with a very broad concept
Use the connector "and" to retrieve records with all the keywords you list to focus and narrow your results
Use the connector "or" indicate that any one of the terms listed needs to be in the results shown; this usually increases the number of relevant results
Use quotation marks to indicate a phrase
Use an asterisk * to pick up words with the same stem but different endings
Look for alternative words or terms to search when reviewing your results or reading the full-text article.
Searching by the subjects assigned to articles helps
Look at the subject terms in records for articles that fit your topic closely and search those subjects for more articles
Use the thesaurus available in some databases to see if your keywords are subjects or if alternative terms are used
Some specialized databases allow you to limit your search in other useful ways: educational level, age, population group, research methodology, language, etc.
Limiter options vary by database:
Make connections through ideas and concepts rather than specific words
Look at the reference list at the end of a relevant scholarly article you found. This may lead you to earlier articles related to your topic. Search the UNH Library catalog by the name of the journal to see if we have the article online or in print.
Check "Times CIted" links, if available, in databases such as PsycINFO and Sociological Abstracts to identify some newer articles citing the article in the database record. This may lead to related relevant articles.
Use Web of Science to follow citations from published articles to identify older and newer related articles across many disciplinary fields in the sciences, social sciences, and arts & humanities.
What else have the author(s) published on this topic? Search their names in the relevant database or look for their CV (curriculum vitae) online.
Subject-specific journals may publish articles on similar topics, so try searching within specific journal titles that you see appearing frequently in your search results.
Search these indexes for journal, magazine or newspapers articles, book reviews, conference proceedings, dissertations, etc.
Depending on your specific topic, population of interest, approach, etc., consider one of the following specialized databases. For more online resources, check out the complete Database List.