Multiple Key Words or Phrases: Place in separate boxes or separate by Boolean operators. Don’t string them together all on one line as you would in Google.
Phrase Search: Use quotation marks to indicate a phrase search. For example: "eyewitness testimony"
Truncation: Add an asterisk * to the end of a term to retrieve results with multiple endings
For example: prison* will return results on prison, prisons, prisoners, etc.
Boolean Operators can help you expand or narrow your search
AND: (forensic* AND exoneration) Narrows your search so that only records containing both search terms come back to you.
OR: (prisoner OR inmate) Broadens your search so that all records containing either term come back to you.
NOT: ("false confession" NOT juvenile) Narrows your search so that only records that contain the first term and not the second term come back to you.
You can combine as many of these techniques as you want in the same search!
Different authors and sources may use different language to talk about the same thing. As you are doing your searching, make a note of what keywords worked well and where. For example, more technical terms might work best when searching gray literature, more scholarly terms might work best when searching scholarly literature, and common, non-technical terms might work best when doing general internet searching.
To identify keywords for your topic, look to a reference source like Credo, an encyclopedia, or even Wikipedia and make lists of terms used in the articles. Also be sure you're paying attention to the keywords listed in the databases and articles you're using.
Don't let the often dense, academic language of scholarly journal articles intimidate you! Follow these tips to get the information you need quickly and easily.