Answered By: Lynn VanLeer Last Updated: Feb 14, 2017 Views: 1848
Sometimes when you are searching for articles in a library database, you may get no or very few results. What can you do to find more results?
Here are some common reasons you would get no or very few articles with a database search:
You have mistyped at least one keyword.
Databases will only yield results that match the exact keywords and/or phrases that you type in the search boxes. Databases do not autocorrect misspellings or typos. Also consider British and American spellings.
You're not searching in a database that fits your topic.
Databases specialize in specific subject areas. For example, there are nursing databases, education databases, and business databases. Choose a database that fits your research topic from our list of subject areas.
You have typed too many words in the search boxes.
Try typing keywords for just one concept per search box. Avoid long phrases.
Example topic: "How do high-school dropouts rate their self-efficacy?"
Break the topic into keywords: high school AND dropout AND self-efficacy
Type just these three concepts as keywords into the search boxes, like this:
Try combining only 2-3 concepts as keywords in a search. If your topic contains more concepts, try breaking up your topic into several different searches to find sets of articles about different parts of the topic.
See our Keyword Searching Guide for more help with breaking up a topic into keywords.
You need to try different keywords.
Try brainstorming for synonyms and try searching with new keywords to describe your topic.
Example topic: "What motivates adult learners taking online courses?"
Break the topic into keywords. Maybe you don't get many results when you use the keyword phrase "adult learners." Another way authors might say "adult learners" is "adult students." Add that phrase to your search instead and see if you get more results.
See our Keyword Searching Guide for more help with brainstorming synonyms.
Watch a video on YouTube demonstrating how you enter your keywords can drastically affect the number of results found.
Video: How to find more results
(1 min 21 sec) Transcript
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