Too many results?
1. Filter out non-scholarly articles. If you are required to find peer-reviewed articles, look for the "Peer-Reviewed" box located in most databases to quickly weed-out most non-scholarly works. This will also remove newspapers, dissertations, blogs, and governmental or business reports.
2. Select "Full-Text" whenever you can. This will narrow results automatically to articles you can read right away, avoiding unnecessary delays for Interlibrary Loan.
3. Limit your results by most recent articles only. Most databases have either a limit or sort feature, enabling you to push more recent--and therefore more authoritative--results to the top.
4. Narrow your topic by adding more keywords for a particular time, place, demographic, or perspective. If your topic is "Potatoes", you may try to include other keywords like Peruvian, Indigenous Peoples, Neolithic, Economic Aspects.
Too Few Results?
1. Cast a broader net with your search terms. Choose more general terms, remove specific locations ("zoom out" on the map: South America instead of Brazil).
2. Remove filters like "Full-Text". This may require you to use our Interlibrary Loan Service (ILLIAD).
3. Use a thesaurus to find synonyms for keywords.
4. Try different databases. We have a variety of resources--be diverse in your searching.
5. Contact your librarian. We are happy to help you explore alternative search strategies and locations to help you find resources.
Choosing the right word or combining multiple keywords can help narrow or expand results. If the right article or resource is hard to find, try a synonym. Below are some common subject headings and keywords from our databases.