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MAS 7601 Education of Diverse Populations and Exceptional Children: Search Strategies

What is "Controlled Vocabulary?"

What is Controlled Vocabulary and why do I need to use it?
Please follow the link below for some tips on using controlled vocabularly. (Provided by Weber State University Library)

Boolean Operators

Want to know more about creating effective searches using boolean operators? Follow the link below for information from UNC Asheville Libraries.

Creating a Search Strategy


Be creative, be original, and keep an open mind. Work and rework search strategies and assumptions.

Step back. Gather exploratory information around your idea.

Think where information lives, who owns it. The closer you get to the owner of the data, the better.

Be skeptical.  Fact check, conduct due diligence.

Recognize inherent bias in all information resources. Seek out sources that offer alternative viewpoints.

Use multiple resources. Don't limit yourself to one resource, one perspective.

Recognize what you will not find. Process impact.

Good information leads you to more good information.  Look for clues that move you forward (an article that mentions a study...)

Document all sources used.

Use Advanced Google search strategies. Improve the ROI on your time and results.

Talk to a live person. Seek out industry experts. It's not all on the Net or in a database. Find out what they know, where else to turn, what else does (or does not) exist.

Improving Your Results

How can I improve my search?

If you got too few results try one or more of these tips:

  • Use an OR with synonyms to broaden your search

  • Consult a thesaurus or index for more search terms

  • Reduce the number of concepts

  • Use more general terms

  • Use truncation to get variations or alternate spellings of your term

  • Use the broadest search possible (usually Keywords in most databases)

  • Check your spelling

  • Check to see if you used AND and OR properly

  • Check to see if you are using the best database for your topic

If you get too many results try one or more of these tips:

  • Use an AND to narrow your search

  • Use more precise terms

  • Use subject headings instead of Keywords

  • Consult a thesaurus or index for more narrower terms

  • Remove truncation

  • Search in a specific field, such as the Subject or Title field, instead of searching Keywords

  • Use limits such as language, years or document type.