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ESS515: Exercise Physiology: Search Tips

Fall 2020: S. Witkowski

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.

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.

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

EXAMPLE: "live high train low," effectiveness

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"
altitude training
hypoxic training 


Quote marks around a word=exact match search

performance [enchancement]

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

Add other terms to narrow topic further:
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" ~