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Finding journal articles and more

Search tips

Search platforms and databases can return an enormous number of results. To avoid information overload, try applying some of the general search tips below.

  • Use our topic analysis guide to help you understand your essay question.
  • Keep it simple! Choose a few distinctive words.
  • Use a combination of search terms and author’s surname to further refine your results.
  • Place quotation marks (“ “) around your keywords to search for the terms as a phrase (the terms appear in the order specified).
  • Select a particular format, subject, language or limiting to online items. You can add multiple formats as limits, for example books AND journals.
  • Select a date range or decade to limit your results by publication or creation date.
  • Use a number of databases and search tools.

Library research tips

​Check out our top 5 library research tips to save time and stress:

  • Academic Phrasebanks - need help finding the right sentence or paragraph starter for an assignment? Academic phrasebanks can help bring your writing skills to the next level.
  • Build a subject glossary - as you research, you may find certain words popping up more frequently that relate to your topic. Think of these as searchboosters. Use them if your searches are not finding what you need.
  • Keep track of acronyms - keep a list of the key acronyms in your field. Be mindful that just searching for specific acronyms won't always return what you want, but when used in conjunction with your topic keywords, can help hone your searches to get the best results.
  • Mine references and citations - found a great resource on your topic and wish there were more like it? Scroll down to the bottom and look at the references and citations. This should have a lengthy list of resources that could be relevant to your topic. Use this information to search for these on the library website or on Google Scholar.
  • Command-F or Control-F - if you are unsure if a resource has enough relevant content, try this: hit control-f (or command-f on a Mac) and plug in your keywords/phrases. This finds specific words in a document or website, so that you can decide if it is worth reading further.

Responsible Officer: University Librarian/Page Contact: Library Systems & Web Coordinator