Too Many Results?

You have ran your search and come up with 1,760 results! It’s time to narrow your search. Here are a few strategies to do so.

1. Make your topic more specific by asking questions.

  • Who? Who is involved, who is affected? If you’re interested in poverty, try being more specific: poverty in single-parent families.
  • Where? Are you interested in data from Canada? Or can you limit it to poverty in the rural population?
  • When? Are you researching the last 5 years or during the 1960s?

2. Make your topic more specific by using subject headings.

Subject headings can help you find relevant sources and explore specific aspects of a subject.

3. Modify your search by adding, removing or changing your keywords.

  • Add in your other concepts using the AND Boolean operator when necessary. Remember that AND will narrow your search by making it more specific.

Example: drug abuse AND sports

Example: substance abuse instead of drug abuse

  • Enter fewer synonyms or try a narrower term.

Example: college instead of post-secondary, teenagers instead of youth

4. Group your search terms or use exact phrases.

Try the strategies outlined on the page Create a Search Statement.

5.Use the limit options available with each database.

  • Type of document
  • Date of publication
  • Full-text
  • Scholarly or peer-reviewed journals
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