Look for search tips in retrieving more precise results?
We can make use of boolean operators, exact phase, truncation, wildcard, and many other techniques to retrieve more precise results, so as to save our time and effort in searching.
AND combines search terms so that each result contains all of these terms. This helps to narrow our search.
e.g.: hotel AND Asia search results contain both hotel and Asia.
OR combines search terms so that each result contains at least one of these terms. We usually use OR to connect synonyms or similar concepts. This helps to broaden our search.
e.g.: tourist OR traveler search results contain either tourist or traveler or both.
NOT excludes terms so that each result does not contain the term that follows it. This helps to narrow our search.
e.g.: culinary NOT vegetarian search results contain culinary and without vegetarian.
Exact Phrase, Truncation & Wildcard
Exact Phrase (Search with quotation marks " ")
Keywords vs Subject Headings
Keywords are words or phrases in natural language that describe the search topic. Keyword search looks for the keyword terms in any field of the record (if not specified) in a database.
Subject headings are controlled vocabularies that describe the content of each item in a database. These controlled vocabularies are usually given by subject specialists or indexers. Subject heading search looks for the subject heading terms in the subject heading field of the record in a database. The field name may vary by database or platform, e.g., it's called Subject in OneSearch, and called Subject Terms in EBSCOhost.
Find Similar Results
Once you found a relevant article (i.e. a seed document), there are several ways to get more related articles from it. The most commonly used way is relying on the "related articles" or "recommended readings" suggested by the database. Below is an example in OneSearch:
Another skill is citation chaining. The assume is: If a paper citing or being cited by another paper, they normally share similar topics. Citation chaining can be further divided into Backward Chaining and Forward Chaining.
Backward chaining means locating other papers cited by the seed document. You may simply locate those papers from the reference list of your seed document:
One disadvantage of backward citation is: you can only locate the materials published before the seed document. However, you can locate more up-to-date materials by Forward Chaining.