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Too many results? Narrow your search.
- Add additional keywords
- 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
- Use limiters
- These are things like search fields (title or abstract), publication date, and format type.
- Search for a short phrase with quotation marks
- “environmental law”
- “environmental justice”
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.
- Narrow Topic
- 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
- Database Choice
- Different databases focus on different topics. Try the "Articles& Databases'' linked on the library homepage to view resources ford different subjects.