Always think about different ways to say the same thing. Start with keywords to describe your topic. Then, within results, look at the abstract and subject headings to identify additional keywords to use.
Using Quotation Marks
Using quotations marks means that the database will search for the entire phrase, not the individual words.
|place phrases in quotes|
When you put and asterisk at the end of a search term it searches for words with any possible ending.
|use * for truncation|
|environment* = environment or environments or environmental|
|"public land*" = public land or public lands|
|python* = python or pythons|
When you use OR between two search terms, the database will search for anyof them. This is useful if there might be multiple ways to refer to your topic.
|use - or - for synonyms|
|"wind energy" or "wind power"|
|"mountaintop mining" or "mountaintop removal"|
|conservation or agriculture|
|chromium or perchlorate|
When you use AND between two search terms, the database will only show you search results that contain BOTH of those search terms.
|use - and - to connect concepts|
|"wind power" and "public land*"|
|"coal ash" and regulation*|
|drought and "delta smelt"|
Put it all together:
("wind energy" or "wind power" or "wind farm*") and "public land*"
"drinking water" and regulation* and (chromium or perchlorate)
("nuclear energy" or "nuclear power") and "waste disposal"
Additional concepts / key words:
law and legislation