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Freshman Studies Resource Guide: Search Tips

Videos: Searching

Video about picking keywords and using them to search.


Video on using boolean operators to enhance your searches

Different Types of Periodicals

Scholarly or Peer Reviewed?

The following brief video will introduce students to locating scholarly / peer reviewed sources in databases. Molloy also offers a detailed help page on Finding Articles in Databases.

No Hits on Your Search?

Illustration of a red question mark holding a tablet with caption I'm sorry...I can't find any results for that search. Please try a different search belowIn JETfind or a database, if you receive zero results, CHECK THE FOLLOWING:

  • Did you spell all your words correctly? JETfind and databases do not recognize misspelled words and will not return suggestions like Google.
  • Did you try using alternate keywords? A good practice is to make a list of terms first. For example, you might say Movie or Film but in a database you would search Motion Picture
  • Are you sure you're in the right place? Especially in subject specific databases, make sure you are in a resource that will have information relevant to your topic. For example: searching in a Nursing database for articles on Business Management won't yield many relevant results.
  • Are your terms too specific? Try starting with the highest level of whatever concept you are going for and stay away from entering phrases or entire sentences. If you are conducting a 'phrase search' and the results don't make sense, try putting those terms in "quotes"  (e.g., "urban waste") or separate your concepts. More on advanced techniques and boolean searching...
  • Are you including nonessential words or punctuation? Library searches do not work the same way Google does. Do not type in a whole sentence. Databases generally ignore capital letters and words such as 'a' 'an' 'of' or 'the' and do not understand symbols such as colons, semicolons, and dashes. Acronyms, however, can be very effective if you are in the right subject specific database.
  • Did you try a subject search? Often it is best to let JETfind or a database "do the driving" for you. Once you find a single relevant item, try clicking on the subject hyperlink(s) for more results.

Still not getting what you want? Ask a Librarian!

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