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BIO 111 General Biology I G. Zoanetti: Search Tips and Hints

Keyword Searching

In general, the bulk of the library's resources work best when entering a specific search terms for your topics, as opposed to questions.

For example, instead of entering this as a search:  What sort of laws are towns in New York State passing to encourage or ban fracking?  You might enter a keyword for each concept of the question you are seeking an answer for:  laws New York State fracking

Tips for Success:

  • Spelling counts - while some databases do offer a Google-like "Did you mean?" feature, others do not.
  • Try synonyms - instead of laws in the above example, you might try legislation.
  • Use phrase searching as appropriate. If you are looking for the technical phrase for fracking, you can use often use quotation marks to search for "hydraulic fracturing"
  • Combine search terms and phrases:  "ground water" and fracking (some databases will not require the "AND" as part of the search)
  • Use wildcard symbols:  wom*n will return results with the words women or woman
  • Use truncation symbols: medic* will return results with the words medical, medicinal, medicate, etc.

These are just a few examples and the specific search modifiers vary from database to database. Consult the database help screens for additional information and tips.  Here is EBSCO's help page.