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Narrowing or Broadening Your Search : Home

This guide teaches you ways to narrow or broaden your search by using keywords, limiters, and boolean operators.

Narrowing or Broadening Your Search

Narrowing or broadening your search to get a manageable amount of sources can be difficult. Watch the video to learn how to narrow or broaden your search.

Tips for Narrowing or Broadening Your Search


1. For this example, let's say your interested in child development. Place your search term in the search bar at the top of the page and hit search.

EBSCO search: Child Development

2. You probably got hundreds or even thousands of results, which can be overwhelming. You can narrow down your search further by adding a second term such as technology.

 Key word added: Technology

3. You can narrow your search even further by using alternate keywords. Alternate keywords for this example can focus on a related term, an age range, or even a specific type of technology. By replacing technology with a more specific term like television, your results are becoming more manageable. 

Alternate Keywords: Child Development (Age range: juvenile, adolescent, toddle) and Technology use (Specific type: iPads, Computers, Educational Technology.

4. As you search, you may discover new keywords and might need to revise keywords based on database results. Let's say you found one or two articles you are interested in. You might scour the articles' abstracts and subjects to harvest some new keywords to try in future searches. 

Under title of article, subject terms are located under document type. Abstract found under Author-supplied keywords

Database Limiters

1. You can also use database limiters to refine your results. Limiters are often located on the left-hand side of the page. Some helpful limiters include Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals, Publication Date, and Source Types.

See above info

2. Scholarly articles go through a peer-review process to make sure the information contained within them is accurate. This filter is also useful if your assignment requires you to use peer-reviewed sources.

"Limit to section" is found under "expanders": Scholarly (Peer reviewed) Journals is 3rd check box.

3. Limiting the publication date allows you to ensure you are getting the most current available research on your topic.

"Publication date" filter found under "Limit to" Filter

4. "Source Types" are useful if you want to view popular sources like magazines and newspapers to find introductory information on a topic. 

"Source types" is found under publication date

Boolean Operators

1. Boolean operators can help you if you need to narrow or broaden your search. The operators are AND, OR, NOT, or AND NOT. For example, let's say your writing a paper on parking a Utah State University which is very specific. You may not find many results on parking and Utah State University even though these seem like great keywords.

Search example (See above info) Search results are found at top of the list of articles

2. Replacing Utah State University with a broader term like university will give you more results.

Same as above image

3. You can search all variations of a keyword at once by using the boolean operator OR. For example, you could search university OR campus. Searching this way allows you to find sources containing either of the two keywords. 

Second box in search updated to "Univeristy OR campus"

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