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Research Process


The search strategies below apply to most book catalogues and article databases. Understanding how to construct an advanced search will save you time and help you to retrieve the most relevant information. 

For a more in-depth introduction to searching, go to the Find Books and Find Articles guides.

Look at your research question and identify the most important terms (also known as keywords):

Image of the keywords: internet, privacy, and protection

Think of other similar words, root words or forms of the same word:

Image of similar words: internet and online, privacy and security, protect and protection

You may need to narrow or broaden your search. One method is to choose more specific or more general keywords:


Boolean Operators

Once you have selected some keywords, you can combine them with Boolean operators. Catalogues and databases respond to this type of logic. 

AND icon to narrow online AND privacy
OR icon to broaden internet OR online
NOT icon to limit NOT email


Quotation marks icon to search for a phrase "privacy settings" ...only retrieves the two words together
Question mark icon for alternate spellings e?mail ...retrieves e-mail or email
Asterisks Icon or.Question mark icon for different word endings  protect* ...retrieves protect, protection, protected, etc. 


Search Document Types

Many databases allow you to narrow your search by document type. Consider the type of information you are looking for to narrow your search.


Magazine, Newspaper, Book, Reports, Scholarly Journals, Trade Journals, Conference Papers, e-Book, Audio Visual, etc.

Document type:

Annual Report, Case Study, Statistics, Government Information, Interview, Image, News, Review, Standard, SWOT, Company Report, Country Report, Industry Report, Working Paper, etc.

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