A&S 1102 (Fall 2017): Search Strategy

Search and Compare


Using a relevant database, enter some key words about your topic, e.g. climate change and fiction.

If you don't see a PDF for the full-text, look for the "Get it! Cornell" link.

Look for the ways you can limit your search, for example, date published, scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles, etc.


Try the exact same search using the Google search engine.

What differences do you see?

When is it more useful to search the web and when might it be more useful to search a database?

Save one of the citations you find to use in the next exercise.

Search tips:

Whether you are searching a library catalog, a database, or the web, searching involves finding the right terms and phrases. 

Basic principles:

Start with a broad search, using just one or two terms or phrases.
Less is more: Fewer search terms returns more results (but they may not all be as relevant as you would like).

Add search terms to narrow your search. 

Try variant names and terms, e.g. "climate change" OR "global warming" to expand your search.

Examine records to find other relevant subject terms (or descriptors).

Selected Databases

Web Accessibility Assistance