Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
 

Business Source Premier database: Tips on using BSP and other databases

Advice for effective KEYWORD searching article oriented databases & library catalogs

There are 6 central concepts that are important to grasp, in order build an effective KEYWORD search strategy in any article oriented database OR library catalog:

 

  • #1:  If you have a MULTI WORD PHRASE you need to treat it differently - treat it like a mathematical expression, and put it inside a set of PARENTHESES:    For example:  Military Industrial Complex ===> (Military Industrial Complex)

 

  • #2:  Meaningful use of synonyms - do not search for just one word, to cover your core concept.  Try to include synonyms & unique phrases that are closely allied with your prinicpal area of focus. Separate each of the synonyms with the OR command:    For example:   Child abuse ===> (Child abuse) OR (Abused children) OR (Sexual abuse) OR (Sexually abused) OR (Physical abuse) OR (Physically abused) OR (Emotional abuse) OR (Emotionally abused)

 

  • #3:  Using WILDCARDS for variety of words that have similar starting point of spelling - do not search for just one word, if there are an entire family of words that all have the same base word.  The ASTERISK "*" is the wildcard to use most article oriented databases.    For example:   Econom* will automatically pull in:  Econometric OR Econometrically OR Economic OR Economically OR Economize OR Economizing

 

  • #4:  If you are trying to focus on a specific Geography, you really need to search for both the Name of the country / city / region, as well as searching for the People of that county / city / region, and sometimes adding in the name of their language.  For example, if you want to only focus on your topic in Holland, then you should formulate that component as ==> ( Holland OR Netherlands OR  Dutch )

 

  • #5:  If you have a HYPHENATED WORD you need to search for it both WITH and WITHOUT the hyphen::    For example:  Multi-National Corporations ===> (mutli-national corporations) OR (mutlinational corporations)

 

  • #6:  Understanding the searching options of that particular database -- if your database has the capability of specifying a unique field to search, try looking for your topic under the SUBJECT umbrella.   For example:  an ordinary search as contasted against  a subject only search

 

For some research toptics, the difference in the number of articles retrieved between these two simple options could be 4 to 1!

Gary Klein (librarian for AGSM)

Gary Klein's picture
Gary Klein
Contact:
Mark O. Hatfield Library
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301

Work phone: #503-370-6743

Gary's general work schedule (Fall 2020):
Mon, Tue & Fri = 9am -- 6pm; Wed & Thu = Noon -- 9pm AND ALSO by appointment at other times.
Website