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LITERATURE SEARCHING: HOW TO SEARCH

Accessing Articles

No access to a PDF or to the full text? Look for the  link in the database to see if we have access to the article via another source.  If full text is available you will see a link to the 'Article'.

No online access? Search the library catalogue for printed material. Select Periodical or Serial in the library catalogue results.

Articles from print journals held at another site can be scanned and emailed to you by request - Ask for an Intersite loan.

No access in print or online? - Ask for an Interlibrary loan.

How to Search

In the previous section you looked at breaking your topic down into keywords. In this section we'll look at how to combine these words in a database search.

 

  Most databases use  AND / OR / NOT to structure a search.

 

         OR expands search results = more results e.g. teenager OR youth 


          AND limits search results = less results e.g.  teenager AND youth           


       

        NOT (or AND NOT) limits search results    e.g. teenager NOT youth 

 

 

Search Tips

Use these useful tips to make your search more effective;

  Phrase searching - use quotation marks around a group of words to mean a phrase, e.g.: "age discrimination".


  Wildcards - (symbols e.g. * ?). These represent ways of finding different variations and spellings, e.g.:

  • educat* will find educate, educates, education, educating, educator(s) etc.,

  Alternative spellings - try both or use wildcards as above, e.g.:

  • UK English: organisation / US English: organization (Search: organi?ation)
  • UK English: programme / US English: program   (Search: program*)

  Some words / phrases can appear with or without hyphens, e.g. multi-media or multimedia.


  Limit your search - limit by date, language, format or type of publication, only subscribed resources, etc.