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WRI 111: What's (y)our story?: Home

Search Tips

Good searching can shorten your research time significantly. Here are some tips from the pros:

  • Use quotation marks around a phrase to inform the search engine to look for exactly the phrase you enter- for example "public health" or "wildlife management".

  • When searching for a keyword with multiple variations (ex. "education", "educators") use the root form of the word and add an asterisk (*). This means using educat* will retrieve items that have all variations-- "education", "educators", etc.

  • Be specific: consider addition search terms or filters to help narrow your search results

  • Use the built-in database filters to focus your results- most interfaces let you limit by publication date, subject, format and more

  • Finally, ZSR Librarians are here to help you find the best sources for your research assignment!

"Pre-Research": Getting Started with Background Sources

Before getting started with research, it is a good idea to start with some background and context to the issues you are investigating. The informative sources below will help you get to that information quickly.

Advanced Search Tips

Use the operator AND to find only sources that include both keywords. This search will bring back fewer results than searching either keyword on its own.

ecotourism AND Costa Rica


Use the OR operator to expand your search with additional keywords. This will find sources that include either word, so you'll see more results than by searching for just one keyword.

ecotourism OR agritourism


Use “QUOTES” around your search phrases. This will bring back results that only use that exact phrase.

Additionally, if you are retrieving results that are closely associated with your search phrases, but not relevant to your topic, then you can use the NOT operator to exclude these phrases from your search. 

Instruction & Outreach Librarian

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Meghan Webb
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