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Historical Research & Historiography

Research Tips: Database Searching

One of the most important skills you can develop in this course is database searching. Learning how to formulate your key terms, arrange them in a search strategy for the database to interpret, and then assessing your results for relevancy and adjusting as needed are crucial to the quality and scope of your research and your academic work here at UNA. The following video gives you an introduction to searching in Discovery. 

Quick Database Tips

  • Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT – These operators will help you combine your key terms in order to narrow (AND), broaden (OR), or exclude certain results (NOT) relevant to your search.
  • Using quotation marks around words “ “ will search a particular phrase. "world war one"
  • Use parentheses to help group together synonyms or related adjectives, ex. ("world war one" or "the great war")

For example, if I were to search for ("world war one" OR "great war" OR "world war 1") AND (woman OR women) AND (activists OR activism), the database must include at least one of our key terms from each parentheses, which helps increase the relevancy of our results!