F&M College Library

CNX 185: "Who Reads Books?"

Finding Articles with Interdisciplinary Databases

Finding Articles with Art & Art Historical Databases

Constructing Search Strings

Remember: Databases don't speak English. 

Construct search strings to effectively find resources in databases. 

Research Question: "What effect does media have on teens' body image?"

A good example of a search string: 
"body image" AND media AND teens

A not great example of a search string: 
media's effects on teen body image

Tips for Constructing Search Strings

  • Use AND, OR, or NOT to expand, refine, or edit your search. AND will join two words or phrases together and search for both. NOT will search for one topic but not the other. And OR will search for either term you enter. 
  • Use quotes around phrases with two or more words. 
  • Boil your research question down into main ideas. For example, in the research question above, the main topics are: body image, teens, and media. 
  • Try using wildcards if you're looking for multiple spellings of a word. Like this: search wom*n, and you'll get results for woman, women, and womyn.