3. Effective Database Searches
|In this tutorial:
Tools to Construct a Search
Modifying a Search: Limiting or Expanding
View a video demo on Choosing Keywords (flash file)
A database is a frequently updated set of listings for articles and reports from magazines, newspapers, journals, and other resources. You can quickly search a very large number of articles for specific topics, titles, authors, etc. If you don't know a specific article title, author's name, or journal title, a keyword search will be your best bet.
Although Google allows you to type a whole sentence or phrase, most databases do not behave this way. You need to identify the key words to have the database search effectively. For example:
If your topic is:
the correlation between respiratory illnesses in infants and the development of asthma later in childhood
don't just type this into the database search box. Instead, identify keywords, such as:
infant(s), baby, babies, child, children, childhood, respiratory illness(es), asthma, pneumonia, relationship, correlation, etc.
Think about your topic and try to brainstorm as many relevant keywords as possible. A thesaurus can help you find synonyms for some terms. Also, reading about your topic in a basic source such as a textbook or an encyclopedia article can help you think of more keywords.