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.