Here are some tips if you found too much information, too little
information, or the wrong information in your search.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION
Try looking at an irrelevant record your search retrieved. Can you figure out why the database gave it to you? Did you use one
word that the computer misunderstood? See if you can use a more
specific term or maybe a short phrase that excludes the meaning you
don't want. Try adding a new term which makes your old term more
Check where in the record your search terms matched.
matches for topics are in fields like Subject or Title . Look for an
Advanced or Expert Search option in the database to search in
specific fields only, if you can.
Use limiters when they're available.
Will the database let you
ask for publications only in English? Can you ask for only journal
articles? Want more recent information? Is there a subject heading
that covers your topic? Can you get rid of book and film reviews?
Play around with your options and see if they help. Try using the
(Iran and Iraq)
TOO LITTLE INFORMATION
Did you spell your search terms correctly?
are remarkable tools, but they don't come equipped with spell
checkers. One misspelled word can sink an entire search. Check a
Get rid of long phrases.
When you type in a phrase, all the
words must appear in exactly that order before the database will
give you anything. Some databases automatically put the operator AND
between the words you type, turning your phrase into a long Boolean
Try using alternative terms.
That's what you gathered all the
extra vocabulary for. Don't forget truncation or wildcards for
variant forms of a word.
Try to come up with broader terms for the idea you need.
Every so often, it happens that there's very little written on a
specific topic, but a lot on the general area.