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ENG 100 College Composition C. Pristash: Tips and Resources for Essay 4


Keyword Selection and Search Limit Tips

Keyword Tips:

  • If searching for sources that are focused on specific aspects of a topic, include a keyword for each concept.  For example, let's assume you require information on the increase in number of hydraulic fracturing laws by local governments in New York State.

    Your keywords might include:  New York State hydraulic fracturing laws

    Be careful not to include too many keywords - in most cases all of the words you enter in the search box must appear in the articles for them to be returned in your search results.

    On the other hand, if you receive too many results and they are not focused on what you are looking for, add keywords to narrow the search.
  • Use synoyms as appropriate.  For the above example you might substitute "fracking" for "hydraulic fracturing" or "legislation" for "laws".

Search Tips:

  • If searching for a phrase or name, you can include the words in quotations marks to do a phrase search:  "hydraulic fracturing" will return articles with those two words together, in that order.
  • You can often search for multiple versions of the same word using truncation. Add the appropriate symbol to the intial letters in the word to return results with each variation:  legislat would return articles with the words legislation, legislator, legislating, legislate, etc.
  • You can use boolean operators to help structure your search, creating fairly complex queries.

    AND searches for both terms, for example:  Fracking AND laws   (Note that most of our interfaces employ "AND" by default, so you do not need to enter it.)

    OR can be helpful if you have two words or phrases that are used to refer to the concept you are searching for, for example:  "hydraulic fracturing" OR fracking   (Note that these tricks can be combined, here the boolean OR has been used in conjunction with a phrase search.)

    NOT should be used sparingly, as it eliminates all articles containing the word anywhere in the text.