You can use search operators to join key words together to narrow or broaden your search results. This means you can be more precise in locating your information. Note not all database support these search operators.
AND - Narrows your search by combining words. The results found must contain all the words which you have joined by using AND
OR - Broadens your search to include resources which contain any or all of the terms, connect by OR
NOT - Narrows your search by excluding a term. Beware! By using this operator you might exclude relevant records.
Phrase searching is a technique that narrows your search down by searching for an exact phrase or sentence. It is particularly useful when searching for a title or quotation.
Usually speech marks are used to connect the words together.
For example "Power Transition Theory" will find results which contain that phrase. Some search tools may use (brackets) or 'single quote marks' rather than speech marks so check the online help section of the database.
Focus a search by date, language or document type.
There are many ways to focus your search and all database offer different ways of doing this. Check the help section of the database if the options are not immediately obvious. Some of the ways of focusing your search are as follows:
When you find a useful article or books, looking at its bibliography will give you information about other sources on your research topic.
Some databases also allow you to search for literature which has cited the article or book you have found. This can give you useful leads on more recent research on the same topic. There is no standard name for this type of search; depending on which database you are searching it may be referred to as "Cited Reference" or "Cited by" or "times cited".
Books have authors / editors, year, title and publisher.
Book chapters have chapter authors, year, chapter title, PLUS book authors / editors, year, title, publisher & page numbers.
Journal articles have authors, year, article title, journal title, volumes, issues, pages.