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What is the best way to search the databases?

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  • Use strong keywords: Pick out the most important words/concepts in your research question. Use keywords such as those experts and scholars would use. These are usually nouns
  • Avoid terms that can be used in many settings (like effect, impact, develop)
  • Use Advanced Search and group keywords by concept: Use OR between synonyms (expands your results); use AND to combine different subjects (narrows your results)
    • dental OR teeth OR tooth OR oral
    • acid AND batteries
  • Search multiple endings of a word: Use asterisk, e.g., econom* for economy, economic, economies
  • Search exact phrases: Use double quotes. "coral reef"
  • Limit results: Choose publication years, scholarly or peer-reviewed, full text, etc.
  • Sort results: Choose most recent first or most relevant first