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Search Strategies

Phrase Searching

Place several words within quotes to search those exact words in that exact order.

  • "solar power"
  • "hydrocarbon pollution"

Truncation and Wildcards

Use a symbol (usually * or ?) to search all words that start with entered letters.

  • rob* searches for robotics, robbery, and Robespierre.
  • *oxi* matches terms such as antioxidant, dioxide, oxidative, and paradoxical.
  • wom?n searches for woman, women, and womyn.

Boolean Operators

AND searches for both terms, OR searches for either term, NOT omits a term. Combining these operators with truncated and wildcard search strategies can enrich the results.

  • "solar power" AND "nanocrystal" NOT "chem*"
  • "Na" OR "sodium"
  • "heart" OR "cardi*"


Evaluating Websites

Before you use a website as a source, ask yourself:

1. Who created this content?

  • You should be able to identify the individual or organization who authored the content, including their affiliations and credentials.

2. Why did they create this content?

  • Consider their motivation- many websites present opinion as fact or provide misleading information to persuade readers.

3. How did they create this content?

  • A good website is going to list its sources. Whether it's a quote or a statistic, you need to know where the website got it before you can trust it.

If you have any questions about using a website, ask a librarian!