Refining search results

tekijä: Eeva Marjatta Koponen Viimeisin muutos maanantai 19. joulukuuta 2016, 12.10
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The success of your search depends on the search terms, the way you combine them in a search statement, and the database. In an ideal case, you get a suitable number of relevant results. Sometimes, however, you get thousands of results but none of them are relevant. And sometimes you get no results at all.

 

 

The following video Refining search results (5 min) provides you with examples of how to refine your search results.

Choose English subtitles from the quotation mark icon below the video screen: subtitles.png
(If the video does not work below, use this link to watch the video.)

 

If you are not happy with your search results, modify the search terms, the search statement and the search strategy, and check the database again. Here are some ideas that might help you.

If you get too few results

  • Use broader search terms
  • Limit your search to keywords or title instead of descriptors or subject terms
  • Add more related terms and synonyms combined with OR
  • Use fewer limiting concepts combined with AND
  • Use truncation
  • Check what descriptors or subject terms the database uses
  • Check that you are using the Boolean operators correctly
  • Check that you are using a relevant database
  • If you find a relevant record, use its descriptors or subject terms in a new search

If you get too many results

  • Use narrower, more specific terms
  • Limit your search to descriptors or subject terms or title instead of keywords
  • Add more limiting concepts combined with AND
  • Use fewer related terms and synonyms combined with OR
  • Limit the date range
  • Limit the search to peer-reviewed articles
  • Check that you are using the Boolean operators correctly
  • Use quotation marks to get exact hits, e.g. "research methodology"
  • If you find a relevant record, use its descriptors or subject terms in a new search

If you get no results

  • Check the spelling
  • Check that search fields are relevant
  • Check that you have truncated the search terms correctly
  • Check that the database is relevant
  • Check that you are using the Boolean operators correctly

 

 

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