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HLT330 Research Skills Guide: Searching as an ongoing process

Try Different Searches

As you embark on the searching process, remember that you might not get the best results in your first attempt at searching. You will probably need to try lots of different searches, using the techniques outlined on the previous page, and changing your search terms, combinations, and the fields searched.

The search process is an ongoing process of either narrowing or broadening your search (sometimes both), depending on your topic, your results, and how well they match up.

Narrowing techniques:

  • searching in only one database, rather than more than one
  • adding in extra search terms, and combining them with the AND operator
  • searching in specific fields
  • using limiters, either at the time you search, or after the search has been run
  • combining search sets.

Broadening techniques:

  • searching in more than one database
  • adding in extra search terms, and combining them with the OR operator
  • using truncation.

In most databases your searches will be saved and you can go back to them later, but note that, if you wish to save results and searches permanently, you will need to create a personal account or folder in the database or database platform that you are using.


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