It is important to perform searches using the correct language and terminology to yield the best results. Keywords are natural language search terms, including phrases. Frequently, when performing a keyword search, people enter their first idea about a topic or a word or phrase from their thesis statement or main idea behind their research. While this type of searching will likely produce some results, subject headings will likely produce more accurate and useful results. Subject headings are the terminology that field-specific and information professionals use to describe ideas. Searching with subject headings (which are often listed on the detailed record of articles and other resources) will produce results that are more likely to be in the intended field of study, scholarly rather than popular sources, and contain more comprehensive or detailed information. An example of this would be the concept of "high blood pressure"; popular sources would use that keyword phrase, but professional medical sources would use the subject heading "hypertension".
Search limiters are used to narrow search results and make the search better match your information needs. After performing an initial search, there are three search limiter boxes that will appear to the left of the search results:
When searching for scholarly articles, it is always recommended to select "Full-text" from the Available online box, "Peer-reviewed" under Articles in the Format box, and "English" under Language in the Refine Your Search box (unless you are fluent in another language, including field-specific language). Also, note that whenever you change the search in the search bar, you are performing a new search and will need to reselect any of these search limiters that you have checked.
Boolean operators assist in the search process by establishing a special link between two or more words or phrases. Boolean operators are:
Remember when using a search phrase to put the phrase between quotation marks so the search recognizes the phrase as a single search term.
Advanced Search offers even more options with which you can limit your searches before the search. There are four boxes within Advanced Search:
The major search limiter that is not available in Advanced Search is "Full-text" - you will have to select that option after you receive your search results.
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