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Math 315

Keyword Searching


The common way to search databases is by keyword. Use these main terms rather than asking questions or full sentences.

When looking for books or articles try to narrow down your subject.

For Example:

  • First search the broad term foster care.
  • The results returned will have the keyword foster care somewhere in the record.
  • If you have too many results, use limiters such as publication date. Limiters allow you to focus your search.
  • The result should be more items on your topic, with less searching.

Additonally, combine terms with AND, OR, NOT example:

  • Foster Care AND Programs (will narrow your search)
  • Foster Care OR Foster Children (will expand your search)
  • Foster Care NOT Residential Care (will narrow search)

Search Tips

Brainstorm synonyms for your concept. Different databases use different words for the same concept.  Searching for alternative words improves your chances of success.

Modify your searches based on your results. If you find articles that reflect your interests, redo your search using words that appear in the title, subject headings, abstract, or full text of that article.

Use the asterisk (*) to find various word endings.  (i.e., child* finds child, children or childhood)

Use parentheses "" to search for phrases. (i.e, "foster care")

Use the Boolean search operators: and, or, not, near.

AND Reduces the number of search results by requiring more than one term to appear in the same article. (i.e., foster care and aging out)

OR Expands the number of search results by expanding the possible matches to include either one or the other term. (i.e., teen* or adolescent*)

NOT Reduces search results to omit references to articles with certain words that have nothing to do with your topic. (i.e., planning not wedding)

Put it all together to make a sophisticated search:
(transition housing) and foster care and (teen* or adolescent*)

Interlibrary Services

Interlibrary Services (ILL) is available to request books, articles, and other items that are not available in the library collection.  Often the ILL link is provided directly in the database and is the easiest way to submit a request.  Follow the "FIND IT" link and click the link Request your item through Interlibrary Services.

To use the system, you must first set up an account.  To directly logon go to Interlibrary Services

Meriam Library | CSU, Chico