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ESS Human Performance Lab: Search Tips

Fall 2020, S. Jones

Search Tips

Whether you are searching for books in the Five College Library Catalog, or searching for scholarly articles in a library database, 
it pays to be organized as you start your search. Break down searching into a three step process.

STEP 1
Write down as much information about your topic as possible. Answer the following questions:

  • What is your topic?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What do you know? What don't you know?

Then, try to summarize what you are looking for in one or two sentences.

EXAMPLE: I would like to find scholarly or peer reviewed articles and other kinds of information on the effectiveness of the "live high train low"  training method.

STEP 2
Using the information in Step 1, list the main concepts of your topic.

EXAMPLE: "live high train low," effectiveness

STEP 3
Now create a list of synonyms of your key concepts. Think broadly, think narrowly! This step is helping you expand your search
by expressing your query in a variety of ways. If you get too many results, then you can work on focusing your search.

"live high train low"
LHTL
altitude training
hypoxic training 

 

Quote marks around a word=exact match search

effective* 
improvement*
performance [enchancement]



*=wildcard; will find variations in a word after it. 

Add other terms to narrow topic further:
runners
skiers
team sports


              

 

 

You will use the word lists you developed in Step 3 to create search strategies. Use "OR" between synonyms and "AND"
between concepts. For instance:

"live high train high" AND (effective* OR improvement OR performance) AND  runners

Watch Video (3 minutes):  Crafting a Savvy Search Strategy (UCLA Library)

 

Boolean & Wildcards

2 short videos introduce Boolean search techniques:

[How Library Stuff Works, McMaster Libraries]

Search Strategy Worksheet

Use the worksheet to keep track of the "words that work"

~ includes search tips for truncation, AND, OR, NOT and "using quotes for phrases" ~

Get help from Rocco Piccinino

Rocco Piccinino, Science Librarian

Contact:

413-585-2951
rpiccini@smith.edu
Young Library 106
 working remotely as of March 20, 2020

Help