Follow these rules to create an effective search statement. Database screens may look different but almost all of them are following the same rules:
1. AND: Put 'AND' between different ideas. This will help focus your search on relevant articles Example: james joyce AND catholicism
2. ( OR ): Put ( OR ) between synonyms. This will help expand your search. Example: james joyce and (catholicism OR religion)
3. Truncation * (also called wildcard): Use truncation (wildcard) * to expand your search. Example: catholic* will find catholic, catholics, catholicism
Tip: If you spell any of your search terms incorrectly, you won't get good results. If you think you've written a great search, and you're not finding anything, google your search terms and make sure you've spelled them correctly.
Why use scholarly articles?
Why avoid scholarly articles?
Example: you probably won't find much about a financial crisis that happened last month.
In this case, try researching related ideas, like similar financial crises that have occurred in the past, or relevant economic/political concepts that may have contributed to the crisis which might be discussed in the academic literature.
How do I choose a database?
What discipline is most likely to discuss your topic? Example: use a Literature database for a literary topic.
Do you think your topic is very multidisciplinary? Not sure what discipline would talk about your area? Try multidisciplinary databases.
Tip: No database has everything. It's highly recommended that you always try at at least 2 or 3 databases. If you have any trouble, ask a librarian for advice on what databases to search.
If your topic is multidisciplinary or you aren't sure which discipline-specific databases to use, starting with a multidisciplinary database can be very helpful.
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