I've tried searching in a database, but I can't find any articles on my research topic. How can I improve my search results?


Here are some tips on searching databases:

  • Check for spelling mistakes and typos.
  • Think of synonyms or related terms that describe the concept you're searching for.
  • Think of broader or narrower terms.
  • Add or subtract terms from your search -- sometime it's better to start with a more general search using fewer terms, and then begin narrowing down your results, rather than starting with a very specific search.
  • Try searching in different fields. A simple Keyword search does not always provide the best results. Try searching in the Subject or Abstract field.
  • Use the database thesaurus for broader or narrower terms, if available.
  • See more search tips on this website under search smarter, not harder


Still stuck? Ask a librarian for help.


  • Last Updated Nov 02, 2017
  • Views 157
  • Answered By Tina Bebbington

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