Search tips and search strategies
Search for articles and other information in databases
Different databases can be found in the list of databases. The databases are listed in alphabetical order, by subject or by type of database.
There are interdisciplinary databases which cover more than one subject area. LibSearch, Web of Science and Scopus are examples of interdisciplinary databases. If you don’t know where to begin, try one of these. It’s also good to search several different databases, to find as much relevant information as possible.
If there is no full text in the database, look for Find@HS - check for full text to be taken to full text, if the University Library subscribes to the material. Do not apply limits like "Linked Full Text" when searching databases. This reduces the number of documents found to less than the actual number of documents available through e.g. library subscriptions and free sources.
Selecting search terms
Identify the key elements of the research question. Figure out which terms and concepts are used within the subject area. Think of synonyms or alternative search terms and potential alternative spellings (e.g. colour – color). If you get too many hits, try to add more search terms or more specific search terms. If you get too few hits, use synonyms and alternative search terms.
Some databases, like PubMed and CINAHL, have their own controlled vocabulary, called a thesaurus. Articles with similar content are given the same subject terms. The thesaurus in PubMed is called MeSH, Medical Subject Headings, and the thesaurus in CINAHL is called CINAHL Headings. Read more about how to search with controlled vocabularies in the help pages of the databases.
Note subject terms/keywords from books and articles you have found which can be included in your following searches.
Boolean operators are AND, OR and NOT, they can be used to combine search terms.
AND is used to combine two or more search terms. AND is the default operator in many databases, but sometimes you need to use the operator AND between the words. A search with AND generates a list of database records where both words occur in every record included in the list. Example: (child* AND diabetes).
If words are combined with OR, records will be retrieved where one of the words or both occur. This operator is useful when you want to include synonyms in a search. Example: (student OR pupil).
If you want to exclude records which contain a specific word, you can add NOT (or in some databases AND NOT) before that word. Example: (cats NOT dogs).
It is possible to combine different operators in many databases. If you for example want to search for articles where learning occurs as well as students or pupils or both, you can use parentheses to combine the AND and OR operators. Example: learning AND (students OR pupils).
Read more about how the boolean operators work in the help texts in specific databases.
Truncation is a way to include different suffixes for a word and thus retrieve more potentially relevant database records. If you e.g. are searching for articles where the word learn is supposed to occur, you may want to find articles where learning, learner, learners etc. are present as well. By adding an asterisk to the word stem, learn*, you will find all records where words beginning with learn occur.
In some databases a character other than the asterisk should be used to truncate words. Read database help texts to find out which options are available in specific databases.
To find a specific article
Search by article title in LibSearch. If the library subscribes to the journal, you can read the full text.
It is also possible to search for the journal in the library journal list. Search for the journal name (not the article title) or ISSN. On the journal homepage you need to find the right year, volume and number. For access outside campus, use the link for remote access.
Some journals are available in print form in the library. Articles from print journals are possible to copy, journals can not be borrowed.
If the library doesn't have access to the journal you are looking for, you can, for a fee, order a copy of the article.
To find books
Use LibSearch to find books. Search for title and/or author.
On the shelf, the books are arranged alphabetically by author's family name. If there is no author or authors are more than three, the book is placed after the title. Note that editors should not be regarded as authors.
Course literature can not be borrowed, these books are only available for reading in the library. More information about course literature.
To read e-books, use the same login credentials which you use for example to your student e-mail.
If the library doesn't have the book you are looking for, please contact the Library to request an interlibrary loan.