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WGS 301 (Hamilton): Before You Search!

Start Here!

The brief videos and tutorials on this page show how to choose the best keywords, refine a search, and evaluate the information you find. There is also information explaining what a "peer reviewed" article is and teaching you to build more effective searches.

Search Tips

“And”, “Or”, “Not” (Boolean Operators): Use the words to narrow or expand your search results. For Example:

  • “automobiles” AND “accidents” will return results that contain BOTH of the terms.
  • “juvenile” OR “adolescent” OR “teenager” will return results that contain at least one of the terms. Useful for words with similar meanings.
  • “cinderella” NOT “rock band” will return results that are about Cinderella, but NOT the 1980’s rock band by that name.

Use an * at the end of a root word to find all variations of that word. For example, child* will search for child, children, childhood, and children's.

Brainstorm words or concepts that are similar in meaning and use those as additional search terms connected by OR. For example:
college students OR undergraduates OR university students
climate change OR global warming OR greenhouse effect

If you find a good resource, look at the “Subject Headings” or “Descriptors” listed and use those as additional search terms.

Bibliographies/References/Works Cited pages are great ways to find additional resources. You can search the library’s Catalogs and/or Databases to find copies of the sources cited in an article or book that was perfectly on topic for you.

Tutorials and Videos