1. Look for an Advanced Search link in your resource. Using the advanced search options will make your results more relevant.
2. Enclose phrases in quotation marks to find articles where these words appear next to each other. This can be useful if you are looking for the name of a procedure or test such as “Rathus Assertiveness Schedule” or “allele silencing”. You can also use phrase searching in Google.
3. Use OR to search for synonyms, e.g., combustion OR burning.
4. Try truncation. Most resources will have a truncation option that will find all words starting with the same letters. Try typing the first few letters followed by an asterisk (*). Searching for measur* will find measure, measures, measured, measuring, measurement, etc.
5. Expand abbreviations – some databases will not search for very short words. If you have been searching for an abbreviation or chemical symbol and your results don’t seem to be relevant, try expanding the abbreviation – a search for “adenosine triphosphate” will often produce better results than a search for ATP.
6. Ask for help – the Subject Librarians will be happy to help you with your searches.