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ENGL 100 Wiley: Search Tips

Where Should I Search?



Develop a new model of education for the future to promote creativity and critical thinking.


The following questions will help you state your response:


- What issues need to be addressed?

- What components will you include?

- How will the new system benefit this country?


For your essay assignment, Prof. Wiley wants you to use material from at least three additional sources (four for honors students), in addition to your class-based resources. You could find those through Google (or even better, Google Scholar) - but one way to raise your chances of finding credible sources is to use an academic database.

Luckily, all of the databases linked here in your guide fit that description. Ditto the ones listed in the tab for Sources for Articles and eBooks.

You can always ask a librarian for recommendations, too - and for help with doing your searches. The Welcome tab has links for how to reach us for some one-with-one help.

Search Technique Tip # 1 - Word Choice Matters

The real art of searching is in finding just the right search keywords and phrases (like in the story of Goldilocks, not to narrow and not too broad but just right). Computers can be frustratingly literal. For example, searching for the word "schools" will bring back articles about colleges - but also all other grade levels, too. (And maybe other kinds of education, like traffic school, or even schools of fish!)

We recommend starting with specific terms, and only going more broad if you can't find what you need.

Search Technique Tip #3 : Specify Where Your Words Appear

Word placement matters when it comes to searching. That is, if your search word or phrase is in the  article title, abstract, keyword or subject, chances are better that article is really about that topic, and your word or phrase isn't just a note at the bottom of the last page. 

If you are getting too many results from a search, try specifying that your word or phrase has to appear as a keyword, or even precise, as subject or in the abstract.

Search Technique Tip #5: Use Advance Search Mode for Complex Searches

Combining search terms with AND & OR can really focus down your search. (See the video in the box on the right for how to use AND & OR correctly in searches.)

When searching in Cañada Library's databases, though, use Advanced Search Mode. This gives you multiple search boxes. Be careful to put only similar terms (linked with OR) in the same box. Use the pre-set AND to link with your additional concepts, putting those term(s) in another search box. Here's an example:

advanced search Wiley

gets the following results:

results advanced search Wiley

Search Technique Tip #2 - Use Words or Phrases, Not Sentences

While there has been a lot of work done recently in computer science on natural language queries and artificial intelligence, the technology isn't quite there yet when it comes to searching for information. Use keywords or phrases, not sentences or questions. For example,

Search:     education 


How can we change education?

Search Tip #4 - Include Different Words for the Same Concept

Often, though, there are more than one word or phrase to describe what you need. In those situations, use the Boolean logical operator OR to connect them. In searching, "or" is not part of everyday language; instead it tells the computer that you want either or any of those terms.


online learning OR online teaching

creativity OR innovation

Level Up Your Search Skills

This three-minute video describes more advanced search techniques that can focus your results even more, and save you time. The quotation marks technique works for multi-word phrases in Google, and you can use Boolean logic terms in Google Scholar, too!

See this LibGuide for Additional Tips on Narrowing your Search!