General Search Strategies Where do I go?
• Check to see if there's a Pathfinder created for your search needs. • Start with Databases to access reliable information not indexed by search engines. • Think about the possible Information Container. For example: Will a map help answer my question? If so, look at an atlas, map, or image database. • Think about Who might publish the information you're looking for. For example: Will accurate statistics help answer my question? If so, look at nonpartisan Government agencies, a reputable almanac, or the search engine Wolfram Alpha. • Use multiple databases and search engines to find what you’re looking for!
What do I put in the Search Box? • Think about the Answer rather than the question: What will its title be? What words will most likely appear in the article? Use these words as your Search Query. • Use Advanced Search when available to specify your search. • Longer search string=Less hits/results, Shorter search string=More hits/results • Use Quotes to keep words together. For example: "peanut butter" • Use Boolean Operators: Use "NOT" to limit results. For example: peanut NOT butter Use "OR" for more hits. For example: peanut OR butter • Eliminate little, non-‐important words; these confuse searching functions. • Use * to truncate word. For example: boat* searches for results including boats and boating • Change the order of words in your search string. Try synonyms, plural and non-‐plural forms. Eliminate and or add words. • Keep in mind that every search engine/database uses a different set of search rules/parameters. To find out more, go to the site's help menu. • Remember to use "Control F" to find search terms within a website or document. • If you’re having trouble look at your HIT List. It may help tell you what you’re doing wrong. • BE PERSISTANT! TRY, TRY, and TRY AGAIN!
MOST IMPORTANTLY, ALWAYS EVALUATE YOUR SOURCES OF INFORMATION! • Who wrote it? Is the author an expert? Do they have authority? What is his/her/their purpose • •
for providing the information? What might be his/her/their BIAS? Is the Information Current? Is it Relevant to my information need?
ALWAYS CREDIT YOUR SOURCES and FEEL GOOD ABOUT WHOM YOU’RE CREDITING! REMEMBER: BAD INFORMATION MAKES YOU LOOK UNINTELLIGENT!!!