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Information Literacy Tutorial

Our Library's tutorial covers: research skills, critical thinking and information literacy.

Search Strategies

Databases and Google (and other search engines such as Yahoo!) interpret what you enter into the search box differently. For example, in a database if you enter the words Big Bang Theory, which is a scientific theory and also a television show, you will get results for both.  

If you use the below methods when you search, you have a better chance of getting the results you intended to get.

Use Simple terms

Although it may seem easier to just use the first terms that come to your mind when performing a search, computers take certain words and use them as signals of how you want them to search for information. Below are examples of the most common words that change the direction of a search.  You can use them both on the library's databases and on the Internet:


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Use Quotation Marks

Quotation marks ask that the database or search engine keep the words in between them together and in the order written- meaning any time that you use them, the computer will look for the exact phrase within the quotation marks.

Example: "The Big Bang Theory and the origins of the universe"