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Photography & Research


  • Break your research topic/question into keywords.
  • Many databases use specific terms to label documents. Use the "official" database terms for best results with their thesaurus or use subject headings)
  • Combine your keywords/search terms with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).
  • If you are getting too many articles or the information is too general add “AND”s to get more precise.
  • If you are getting too few or too specific, unrelated articles, try thinking of synonyms to your keywords for “OR”s or try taking out some of your “AND”s.
  • Use parentheses with your terms and Boolean operators to build your search phrase.
  • exp. (cat OR kitten) AND (wild OR feral OR homeless)
  • Determine your conditions (such as publication year, document type or Peer Reviewed) and apply them to your search as limits or filters.
  • Use quotation marks (“ ”) around phrases to keep words together. Use this for an exact quote, phrase or order of the search term. exp. "latin america"
  • Use asterisks (*) to “fill-in-the-blank” at the end of a word (this is called truncation). The asterisk will be replaced by any applicable letters.
  • You can use asterisks as a shortcut for OR-ing words that have identical roots. exp. paint* will search for paint, painting, painters, painterly, etc.