A Library database that we recommend for English 110 students is Academic OneFile. We'll use this database to talk about building an effective search.
As you can see, databases require several pieces of information, which is why one-word searching or searching by typing in a whole sentence does not work.
This is one reason that it is helpful to generate your keywords ahead of time.
Once you have your keywords in mind, the next step is to connect them in a way that the database can understand.
You do this by using the connectors AND, OR, and NOT. Here's how they work.
Using AND asks the database to return articles that contain both terms.
Using OR is a great way to present the computer with synonyms that you thought of when brainstorming your keywords. OR will return articles that contain either one of your search terms. So, if one article uses the word "teenagers" and another article uses the word "adolescents," using OR will allow you to find both articles.
Using NOT will keep unwanted items out of your results. For example, if you want to search for how global warming is affecting dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, you may want to keep "football" out of your results so that you don't receive articles about the Miami Dolphins.
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