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Search Techniques

Online databases do not think - or work! - like Google. Learn how to build great keyword searches, and use Boolean operators, in this guide.

Databases vs. Google

Not sure how a library database is different from Google?

This short video explains how the two differ and why you always want to conduct your research in a library database.

Magic Formula for Searching Article Databases

Keywords + Connectors = Search

To get the best results in an article database, you need to enter two things into a search screen: keywords and connectors.

Keywords are the words or phrases that best describe your topic. 

Keywords are used in searching both the online databases at Pierce and on the web. Although we may think in complete sentences, when we are searching for books and articles we want to search using our keywords rather than using complete sentences.



Research Topic 1: What are the causes of diabetes in children?

Keywords: diabetes children causes


Research Topic 2: What impact do undocumented immigrants have on California's economy?

Keywords: "undocumented immigrants" california economy


Connectors are words or symbols (like and, or, not, quotation marks, etc.)  that explain the relationship between my words.

They are the "glue" that hold my words together. To find out how these connectors work, check out the "Constructing your Search" page of this guide.