Too Few Results?

If you’re having difficulty in coming up with enough information your search strategy is too narrow. You will have to make it more general (broaden it):

  • Remove a concept or main aspect of your research topic, one that isn’t critical to your project. These are the words that are connected with the AND  Boolean operator.

Example: You’re looking into the effects of sleep habits on the academic success of college students. Broaden your search by removing the concept college students. You will be left with sleep AND academic success. Remember that the AND operator narrows your search. The fewer ANDs the more general the search.

  • Try using a more general (broader) term.

Example: children instead of preschool children

  • Add in more synonyms or related terms. The more related terms you have the broader your search will be. These are words connected by the OR  Boolean operator.

Use the truncation symbol to get all the variants of a word.

Example:  aggress*  will get you aggressive, aggression, aggressiveness. Be sure to check the database help page to determine which truncation symbol to use.

The section Find Synonyms has several methods of finding related terms for your keywords.

  • Change your topic. It may be that you have picked a subject that nobody has written about.  Talk to your teacher or ask a librarian for help.