Studying the results of any search you perform is a great way of finding more relevant keywords, removing irrelevant terms, and looking for additional resources in article bibliographies. You can also follow author names to see if they have written more on this subject and what authors they have cited.
You can limit any search you perfom by checking the boxes beneath or to the left. This will have the effect of returning only those types of documents that meet your critieria. Some options for limiting and refining are:
Limiting a search can be done in the beginning of your search or after your search, depending on the situation. There are good reasons for both methods. Try it out--see how your results change!
Credit: Shelley Arvin, Indiana State University
Searching is not a one-step process that has one right answer. Using a combination of searching techniques generates the most relevant results.
If you are finding too much information, your research topic may be too B R O A D. Consider narrowing it to a more specific: This can be done by using limiters, specific subject headings, and field qualifiers.
|Time||Civil War, Iron Age, 1920's, 18th Century|
|Location||Europe, U.S., Denver, urban, eastern|
|Population||age, race, gender, nationality, ethnic group, occupation|
|Event or Aspect||government regulations related to cloning, Battle of the Bulge in WWII|
|Person or Group||college students, Democrats, Republicans|
Broad Topic: Global warming
Narrower Topic: How will climate change impact sea levels and the coastal United States?
If you are finding too little information, your topic may be too NARROW, specialized, or current. Use these strategies to broaden your topic.
|Generalize your topic. If your topic is the health effects of fracking on the Ft. Lupton community, broaden your topic to all Colorado communities or the United States.|
|If your topic is very current, there may not be books or journal articles available yet. Choose an alternative topic that is not so recent.|
|Database Choice||Use other databases in your subject area or consider databases in a related subject area which might cover the topic from a different perspective.|
|Synonyms||Use a thesaurus to find synonyms for your topic. When reading background information, note the terminology that is used.|
|Related||Explore related issues.|
|Expand / Remove||Expand or remove: location, time period, aspect, event, population, person/group.|
Example of a Narrow Topic: Does cartoon viewing cause aggression in children under age five?
Broader: What are the negative effects of TV on children and adolescents?