BIO150Y Optimal Information Foraging  

Troubleshooting Tips

Too Many Results?

Too much
  1. Use the word SAME (instead of AND) to connect your terms. This will find items that have the words in the same field such as both words appearing in the title field or subject field of a record.
    e.g. invasive SAME species

  2. Look at a detailed record to see if there are subject headings and click on that term to do a subject search. A subject search is more focused than a keyword search e.g. animal introduction in subject

  3. Limit your search by library, language, type (book), or year.
    Limits in the catalogue

  4. Limit your search to words in the title for a very specific search.

  5. Think of more specific, less general ways, of expressing your topic.
    (i.e. zebra mussels instead of biological invaders)

  6. Consult the catalogue help.

Too few results?

Too few
  1. Enter your terms similar to how you would use a database to find journal articles. Remember to use AND or OR to connect your terms.
    e.g. (alien OR invasive) AND species

  2. Look at a detailed record for other terms or variation of words you can use in a search.

  3. Use truncation symbols to account for different word endings, spellings, or plural vs. singular.
    $ any number of letters in or at end of word e.g. inva$ for invaders, invasion, invasive, etc.
    ? one letter in or at end of word e.g. animal? for animal or animals

  4. Think of broader or more general ways to explain your topic. You can be as specific as you like when searching for journal articles, for books be more general.
    e.g. (i.e freshwater or aquatic resources instead of great lakes)

  5. Remove any limits you may have applied.

  6. Consult the catalogue help.

What if we have a citation?... Next

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