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Too Many Results?
Narrow Your Paper's Topic
If you've simply picked a topic that's too broad, you may need to choose something more focused. See Choosing a Topic.
Add Another Search Term
Try adding more search terms to narrow down the results.
See Search Techniques.
Sometimes just choosing the right sort will cause the articles you want to rise to the top of the list, or will group like things together. Common options include:
- Relevance: Usually the default, relevance ranking is determined by where your search words appear—titles count for more than abstracts, which in turn count for more than full-text matches—and how often the word appears.
- Date: Put the newest or oldest stuff on top
Too Few Results?
Broaden Your Paper's Topic
And if you've picked a topic that's too narrow, you may need to expand the scope of your paper. See Choosing a Topic.
Remove Limits and/or Search Terms
See Search Techniques and Search Terms.
If the database uses Boolean operators, try combining terms with OR instead of AND.
Follow the Bibliographic Links
As long as you find one good scholarly article or book, you can look up the works cited in the footnotes or bibliography to find the sources it's based on.
You can also follow citations forward in time by looking up who cited the work you have. Web of Science and Google Scholar have cited reference searches.
Jessie Ball duPont Library, University of the South
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