Too Few Results?

If you’re having difficulty to find with enough information, you will need to broaden your search strategy. Here are a few ways to do so.

1. Simplify your subject.

Remove a concept or aspect of your research topic that isn’t critical to your project. These should lead you to remove some keywords from your search statement. These are the words connected by 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 “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.

2. Try using a more general (broader) term.

For instance, use the word “children” instead of “preschool children”.

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

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.

4. Change your topic.

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