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English 499: Search Strategies


Tips for Upper-level Students


  • Problem: you are using all of the advanced search options, but you're not finding enough results.
  • Solution: It's better to start wide/general and then use options and filters to narrow your search results.



  • Problem: there are several ways to construct your search. 
  • SolutionAlways write down any synonyms for your search terms and simply try combinations of those terms.
    • The author of a publication may be using a certain term or jargon, while you are searching for another one. Example: "punch drunk syndrome" versus "CTE" or "Chronic traumatic encephalopathy"
    • Databases might not make connections between similar terms
    • Use Advanced Search option Boolean operator "or" to combine terms:


  • Problem: you only have so much time to do research!
  • Solution: look for Help options within the databases that can increase the efficiency of your search




Database Strategies

Use the examples below for help within specific databases

Academic Search Premier (EBSCOHost)

Ebsco Host icon

Main search page  Search Options, Apply Equivalent Subjects + Apply Related Words + Also Search Within Full text of articles


Project MUSE

Project MUSE icon

From main search box, enter search term(s)  from search results page, left side options  scroll down to Research Area, select all that apply


Credo Reference

Credo Icon

Credo Advanced Search  Limit Your Search Results to... Select Subjects or Titles



Summon search icon

Summon Advanced Search  Content Type & Discipline filters


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