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Great Problems Seminar (GPS): Search Tips

Great Problems Seminar (GPS) resources at the library


Top 10 Search Tips

  1. Ask a librarian: Searching and researching is what we do. Let us work with you to make your searching more productive.
  2. Use search filters on the search results page. Some of the most common filters are:
    1. Date
    2. Source Format – book, journal, video
    3. Source Type – Academic Journals, Magazines, Newspapers
    4. Subject – Keywords and phrases found prominently in your search results. Add these as additional search terms.
  3. Identify your topic’s key concepts and their synonyms: Add synonyms for your keywords and concepts to increase the number of relevant search results.
  4. Use the FullTextFinder icon on the search results page. If you only have the summary/abstract of an article, click on the FullTextFinder to search all 200+ library databases for the full-text.
  5. Use Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Submit an ILL request to get full-text journal articles, books and book chapters.
  6. Check bibliographies for additional relevant sources.
  7. Check “cited by” links on search results page.
  8. Check “related articles” links on search results page.
  9. Use Google search features to focus on one website type (e.g. .edu, .gov, .org, .au).
    1. Examples:
      1. Community garden
      2. Fauna
  10. Use "Ask Us!" to ask questions - get help from a librarian!

Additional Search Tips

Use these search terms, known as Boolean operators, to narrow or broaden your search:

media AND bias
Narrows the search to entries containing both terms.
beer OR wine
Broadens the search to entries containing either term.
bat NOT baseball
Excludes entries containing the second term.
“ ”
“social work”
Retrieves results containing the exact phrase in quotes.
Wildcard: Retrieves both globalization and globalisation.
Truncation: Retrieves doctor, doctors, doctored.

Who or What is Boolean?

Boolean operators are named for George Boole (1815-1864), who was a mathematician, logician and philosopher whose legacy of Boolean algebra and symbolic logic is credited with laying the foundations for the information age. According to, a University College Cork website dedicated to him, "his legacy surrounds us everywhere. His pivotal advances in mathematics, logic and probability provided the essential groundwork for modern mathematics, microelectronic engineering and computer science."



Source:  Public Domain