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WRT 101S - Desert Vista - Controversial Issues - Burns: Search Strategy Using the Databases

Key Word Searching

State Your Topic as a Question:

  • For example, if you are interested in finding out about how sanctuary cities help immigrants, phrase your question: "How do sanctuary cities protect immigrants?
  • Identify the Keywords in your question. Here they are sanctuary cities, protect* and immigrants.

Too Much Information? 

  • If you are finding too many sources, narrow your topic by using the "and" operator.

For example: "sanctuary cities" and immigrants and protect*

Too Little Information?

  • You may need to broaden your topic or perhaps select a different one. Broaden your topic by linking similar words with the "or" operator.



Advanced Search

Try doing an advanced search.  The drop down boxes on the far right enable one to search by Keyword, AllText, Title, Author, Subject, and a variety of other fields.  Each database may vary.   The drop down boxes on the far left allow one to search with "AND", "OR" or "NOT".

Advanced Search

  • Search in
  in Keyword
And  in Document Title

Special Search Strategy

Truncation: *

  • The asterisk * is a common symbol used to represent any number of letters at the ends of words

  • Helps find singulars, plurals, and variant endings of words

  • Example: docu* finds documents, document, documentation, documented


  • Most databases let you limit search results. Some limiters include:

    • Language  

    • Publication type..such as Peer-Reviewed or Scholarly Journals.

    • Date of Publication

Phrases: " "

  • Enclose phrases in quotation marks when searching the Web or most databases

  • Phrase searching in individual databases may vary.

  • Example: "sanctuary cities"

  • Example: "federal government"