In databases, subject terms can help you identify more narrow topics and keywords.
Choose more narrow search terms
Broader term: law
Narrower term: environmental law
These are things like search fields (title or abstract), publication date, and format type.
Search for a short phrase with quotation marks
What is a subject term?
Subject terms describe what a work is about. Every item in a database is assigned one or more subject terms. Subject terms can help you identify effective keywords. Most databases list subjects in their search results.
Too few results? Broaden your search.
Choice of Search Terms
Choosing the right search terms is key.
Experiment with related terms.
In databases, subject terms can help you identify keywords.
Use OR to search for multiple related terms at the same time (e.g. policy OR law).
Too Many Search Terms
Databases can be picky about search terms. Be selective.
Begin with one or two search terms that best represent your topic. Then add other terms as needed.
Avoid long phrases and empty words like "the" and "how."
Too Many Limiters
If you limited the search (e.g.by date or search field), remove the limiters and reassess.
For highly specific topics, you may locate sources on a broader related topic.
Narrow search: Bloomington Indiana AND environmental policy
Broader search: United States AND state government AND environmental policy
Different databases focus on different topics. Try the "Articles& Databases'' linked on the library homepage to view resources ford different subjects.