Library Research Skills Tutorial About the tutorial
Using Resources

Search strings

Constructing a search string: getting help

If you are struggling to construct an effective search string the best strategy to adopt depends on the context in which you are searching.

  • If you are searching a subscription database, there will often be a thesaurus or subject headings you can exploit.
  • If you are searching the Internet, try using a subject directory. As well as providing information, using a directory may give you a better understanding of the subject you are researching that will help when you return to using search engines.
  • Some search engines will offer assistance themselves, for example Teoma has features that will help you refine your search.
  • If you are conducting your research in a library you can always ask a member of library staff for help.
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