Helpful Tips for Database Searches
Having trouble finding articles in our databases? Try these tips to improve your results!
- Databases are designed to be more precise and objective than search engines like Google. Because of this, they can't guess what you're looking for. So instead of typing in a sentence or question, try to shorten your search down to a few keywords, and separate them using "and."
- If any of your keywords are multiple words (like social media), put them in quotation marks. For example:
- Google search: is social media bad for teens?
- Database search: "social media" AND teenagers
- Once you have your keywords, try to think of other words that have similar meanings. For example, adolescents or teens could be synonyms for teenagers.
- If you can come up with any, group them together in parentheses, separated by "or." For example:
- (adolescents OR teens OR teenagers)
- So our search from before becomes:
- "social media" AND (adolescents OR teens OR teenagers)
Looking for All Forms of a Word
- If you put the asterisk ( * ) symbol after the root of a word, the database will return anything that starts with that root. Some examples:
- If you put vaccin* into the search bar, it will return anything with vaccine, vaccines, vaccination, vaccinations, vaccinating, vaccinated, etc.
- If you type child*, it will return child, children, childhood, etc.
- If you insert a question mark ( ? ) into a word, it serves as a wildcard, which can serve as any letter. Some examples:
- If you type wom?n into the search, it will return women or woman.
- If you put ne?t, it would return neat, nest, or next.
These questions may be specific to the CMC Steamboat Campus Library and/or Steamboat Campus. Even if they aren't about the Steamboat Campus, we are here to help so please just ask!