When you search the web, a one or two word search often will find hundreds of thousands of websites. To narrow your search and find more relevant web sites, think about your topic and how people might be writing about it. Then use at least three or four keywords or concepts in your search.
If you can describe your topic with words that could also be used as a phrase, narrow your search by enclosing your phrase in quotations:
"animal testing alternatives"
Most search engines have advanced or expert features that allow you to limit your search. Search limits can vary depending on the features of the search engine you are using. A few common ways of limiting include:
Use Google Scholar Settings to link to Tufts University libraries resources, set your bibliographic management tool (Endnote, BibTeX, RefMan) and other customizations.
Use Google search tools for more precise searching.
There are many places to begin your database search. And with every database, there are pros and cons to consider. Here is a quick comparison of Google Scholar and Medline.
Google Scholar pros:
Google Scholar cons:
Think of keywords as something the author said, in exactly the way they said it. Computers accept what you type in a literal fashion. When you search, consider:
Improve your search strategy by using Boolean search operators ("and", "or", "not"). They allow you to be more specific in how you combine search terms.
Use AND to focus search and combine different aspects of your topic.
Example: hematopoiesis and simulation
Use OR to expand your search and find synonyms/related terms.
Example: refinement or alternative
Use NOT to exclude a word or phrase from your search
Example: dogs not mice
Phrase search - Use quotation marks (" ") to search for a particular phrase.
Example: "tissue culture"
Truncation - Use an asterisk (*) or question mark (?) to find variations of a word. Put an asterisk following the root of the word to find all variations of that word, including singular and plural.
Example: monitor* (finds: monitor, monitors, monitored, monitoring, etc.)
Grouping or Nesting Keywords - Use parentheses ( ) as a way to group all your search terms together.
Example: ("surgical stripping" or "surgical ligation") and (anesthe? or anasthe? or anaesthe?) and method?