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COM 1100: Searching Tricks

Always think about synonyms.

Start with keywords to describe your topic, within results, read  the abstract and look at the subject headings to identify additional keywords to use and revise the search (if needed).

Search Strategies: 
Start with keywords (place phrases in quotes), use connectors (or / and) and look for the subject headings specific to each database.

place phrases in quotes so the whole phrase will be searched together and not the words individually

"foreign policy" "human rights"
"transnational security" "middle east"
"political participation" "border security"
"voting rights" "nuclear weapons"






Place an * at the end of the word to retrieve all the variations
environment* = environment or environments or environmental intervention* = intervention or interventions
risk* = risk or risks immigra* = immigrant or immigrants or  immigration
threat* = threat or threats terroris* = terrorist or terrorists or terrorism







use - or - to connect synonyms or like concepts
any of the words can be present

Graphic showing the boolean connector OR using a venn diagram

"middle east" or "arab state" or yemen or egypt
globalization or multinational
"social media" or twitter or facebook 
policy or policies

use - and - to connect concepts
all terms must be included

Graphic showing the boolean connector AND using a venn diagram

("world hunger" or "global hunger") and gmo*
("counter terrorism" or counterterrorism) and ("social media" or twitter or facebook)
"foreign policy" and china
immigra* and (policy or policies or legislation)

additional concepts
law and legislation
policy or policies
government policy
specific countries






In addition, you can search by a known author.