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University Library DePaul Library

Understand Your Search Results

Hopefully, your search will return a list of results consisting of citations. Sometimes you hit the jackpot with your first search, but often you'll find that you need to modify your search.

Here's a quick technique for modifying your search:

  1. From your results, find a relevant article
  2. Look in the subjects and abstract of the article for the words they use.
  3. Add these terms to your search.


Getting Your Hands on the "Articles"

Databases often index different types of sources.

Some of the sources that you'll often find include:

Source Type.... Use....
Journal Article    Find Full Text link (within record)
Book Article, Book Chapter    Library Catalog (search for title of book, not chapter title)
Book Review


Too many results?

  • Add additional keywords to your search using AND.
    Ex. instead of recycling, search for recycling AND colleges
  • Use limits to filter out unwanted citations

Too few results?

  • Search for fewer concepts. Instead of recycling AND promote AND colleges, try recycling AND colleges.
  • Add in more synonyms or variations of the word