As you research your topics in the databases or the online catalog, you will need to reflect on appropriate terms or vocabulary to use in your searches.
You might discover in your initial search that you are finding either too many or too few citations with the terms you are using.
If you find too much information, you will need to select additional terms to narrow your search. The SPORTDiscus database, for example, offers a menu of boolean terms such as AND, OR and NOT, which are used to link multiple search terms. For example, if you searched for "muscles" AND "exercise," you may need to narrow this search by adding terms for specific muscles or areas of the body, such as "hip." When you add this term, "hip," to "muscles" AND "exercise," you will notice that "hip joint" is an assigned subject term in the SPORTDiscus database, so you could then change the search to "muscles" AND "exercise" AND "hip joint."
If you decide to exclude any articles that discuss squat exercises, you can use the boolean "NOT" option to exclude the word "squat."
If you don't find enough information, you can use the boolean "or" to expand the search. For example you could search muscles AND exercise AND "hip joint" OR "knee."
You can also increase the amount of citations in your search by truncating words with an asterisk, such as using "musc*" instead of muscles. With this truncation, you would find any articles which use the term muscular or musculature as well as muscles.
Databases and the online catalog use specific subject headings or descriptors, assigned to each article. This is known as authority language. When you start with keywords, you will notice that the citations you located have assigned subject headings, such as "hip joint," mentioned above. By using these subject headings, descriptors, or authority language, you can be more successful in refining or focusing your research process.
Social Sciences & Programs Team Librarians: