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Library Research: How to search

Learn how to expand or narrow searches, use nesting, phrase searching, truncation and wildcards, proximity, and more

The Research Process

A successful search strategy involves determining the best search terms to use, and then formulating the best search combination.  This is an iterative process.

  • Begin your process by identifying the main subjects you'd like to explore, and identify synonyms. 
  • Do a preliminary search in FASTsearch or even Google Scholar to determine if your initial search terms are yielding the results you want.
  • Make modifications to your search strategy as necessary, consulting database thesauri or examining the subject headings and keywords assigned to relevant articles.
  • Employ relevant search tools and techniques as outlined in this guide.

Search success