No or too few hits: expand your search
- Use more general keywords. Example: if you get too few hits on marketing plan, try the more overarching term marketing. Articles about marketing may contain marketing plan as a subject.
- Truncate: search on a root, followed by a truncation mark, usually * Example: searching work* matches work, but also working, workers etc. Truncation is effective when searching for long words or when you are not sure of the correct spelling.
- Check your spelling. If you are unsure, use a dictionary or an encyclopedia
- Search synonyms, ie similar words. Which terminology may the author conceivably have used? (Example: Preschool, kindergarten, early childhood education)
- Check spelling, name form, and language. Use curriculum or dictionaries to be sure. Remember that words can be written differently in British and American English. Example: Colour (British), Color (American)
- Combine search with Boolean operators
If you are searching for multiple terms simultaneously, most databases combine words with so-called "Boolean operators" - the most common are AND, OR, NOT
AND returns results where the words occur simultaneously.
OR retrieves either one of the words, or both.
NOT use when you want to exclude a keyword.
Too many hits: limit the search
- Use more specific search terms
- Combine multiple keywords to refine your search. When searching with several separate words simultaneously, put them in quotes. Otherwise, you also get articles where the words occur separately. Example: if you search for marketing plan type it "marketing plan"
- Limit by publication dates, language, author, article type etc