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English Composition: Advanced Search Strategies

Found a great source?

If you have one good source, such as a book or article relevant to your topic, look through the bibliography, works cited, or reference lists for additional useful sources. These are usually found at the end of the article or book. You can find these sources by copying and pasting the citation in OneSearch, Google Scholar, or a database.

This is called citation chaining, and it's a great way to find additional relevant articles.

Search for an exact phrase

Quotation marks search for an exact phrase. For example, if you search with quotations, "medical error," your search finds results only with that exact phrase. A search for the phrase without quotation marks retrieves results that may include those two words anywhere in the document in no particular order.

This is helpful when searching for an exact phrase, quotation, or name.

Combining Search Terms

Boolean Operators are simple words (AND, OR, NOT or AND NOT) used as conjunctions to combine or exclude keywords in a search, resulting in more focused and productive results.

Broaden your search

An asterisk (*) searches for all endings to a word at the same time. For example, math*, searches for math, mathematics, and mathematical.

Find related information

Subject headings, also called subject terms, are terms that describe the topic of a document. They are similar to hashtags, and direct you to other sources with the same subject heading. This is a quick way to find relevant information without performing a new search.