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Go Research! Tutorial: Searching

URL: https://libguides.cmich.edu/goresearch

Keyword Searching

You probably already searched a database this week.  Don't think so?  What about Amazon, YouTube, iTunes?  These are electronic collections of content that you can browse and search through to find what you want.  If you keep that in mind, searching a database for journal articles shouldn't seem too different.


  • Use keywords and phrases - this is much more efficient than full sentences
  • Begin with only two or three keywords at first - sometimes the more words you search, the fewer results you find
  • Try to think of synonyms and related terms for each word or phrase, in case some don't pan out

Research topic:  What factors influence retention of high school teachers?
Keywords:  "retention" "job satisfaction" "turnover" "burnout" "work life balance"; "high school" "secondary education"; "teachers" "instructors"

Short Cuts

  • Finding Phrases
    Using quotes around your phrases "like this" will force the database to search for the words in that particular order.
    EXAMPLE:  flexible hours will return articles with the word flexible and the word hours (more, less relevant results)
    EXAMPLE:  "flexible hours" will return articles with both of these words in that order (fewer, more relevant results)
  • Wild Card (*)
    The asterisk symbol (*) will take the place of any letters in a keyword search, and can be used to find versions of the same word.
    EXAMPLE:  educat* will find the words educate, educates, educator, educators, education, educations, educational

Video: Quick Tips & Shortcuts for Database Searching


Original image by M. Cheung, https://flic.kr/p/oNgVEn
Licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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