If you are unsure of which databases to use or you want to search multiple databases at the same time, start with ESBCO Discovery Service, which covers multiple topics and finds information from books, electronic books, streaming video, journal articles and more.
If your topic is a health issue, select the subject group Health/Medical Databases in ESBCO OR select another medical database, such as Ovid Nursing OR Gale/Infotrac Health Reference Center Academic.
If your topic addresses a social issue, use Gale/Infotrac Opposing Viewpoints, Facts.com Issues and Controversies, OR SIRS
Use a newspaper database such as Newsbank Access World News to find statistics or the most current updates or local (Wisconsin or Milwaukee) information.
Using the Right Search Terms
What words describe my topic? eating disorders in children
Can my topic be divided into smaller topics?
Topic 1 – children
Topic 2 – eating disorders
What other words describe my topic?
Topic 1 – children or youth or boys or girls or preteens or youngsters
Topic 2 – anorexia or binging or bulimia or compulsive eating or purging
What do I type in the search box? Sample searches:
child* AND anorexia
boys AND “eating disorder”
girls AND bulimia
Limiting & Expanding Searches
Use quotation marks if you want to search an exact phrase.
“financial aid” and loans
When searching for 2 or more topics, use the word AND to join the terms together.
Facebook AND privacy
iPad AND features
violence AND television
Truncate words to search for all forms of the word. Most commonly used truncation symbols are: ? OR *
comput* will retrieve items with the words: compute, computer, computers, computing, and computation.
If your search results are too large, use more specific terms for your topic.
Instead of sports, use basketball
If your search results are too small, use more general terms for your topic.
Instead of Porsche, use “sports cars”
Use descriptive search terms such as:
design AND jewelry
“identity theft” AND prevention
Do NOT put terms such as: with as into more in the search box. These words have no meaning of their own and can be found in every information source. Nouns make the best search terms.
Retrieves all items with the word dogs plus all items with the word cats
dogs OR cats
Retrieves only items that have both words (dogs and cats)
dogs AND cats
Retrieves all items with the word dogs, but without the word cats
dogs NOT cats