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Oftentimes, students are either drowning in too many results from a search
wondering why they have so few results.
Difficulties of Searching the Literature
Too Many Results
- Use quotes around your search term (ex: "19th century Ireland coast")
- Instead of keyword search, use the dropdown menu to select SU Subject Terms.
- Choose a more specific search term (ex: Instead of Ireland, search "Ireland 19th century customs")
- Add an extra search term, if appropriate (ex: Ireland AND music AND 19th century)
- Limit the search (e.g., title, year, type of publication)
Too Few Results
- Use more synonyms, word variations or related terms combined with OR.
- Use broader, more general terms
- Use fewer concepts
- Reduce search limits (e.g., field restriction, publication date)
- Check for spelling mistakes
- Choose another database
Searching the Internet for Primary Sources
A good phrase to use when searching the internet is "digital collections" + (your topic)
Archives & other organizations are digitizing more and more primary source materials every day. These are often referred to as "digital collections."
**Make sure you are using reliable/trusted sources.
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