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College Success Skills 100: Planning your search

This Research Guide is intended to help students taking CSS 100.

How to plan a search

  • Use the List of KEYWORDS you came up with while brainstorming.   
  • Keep searches SIMPLE.  Don’t include words like a, an, the, in, etc.
  • Use CONNECTORS, like AND and OR to combine terms in your search:

AND=  fewer results:  Alcohol abuse AND students

OR=  more results (use for expanding to find similar terms):  Alcohol OR Drugs

NOT=  Allows you to eliminate unwanted terms:  Alcohol abuse NOT drug 

  • ​​​​​Use TRUNCATION (usually * or ? – check “help” to see which one to use) the root of a word to expand a search.

                   Alcohol* = Alcohol, Alcoholic, Alcoholism, etc. 

  • Be FLEXIBLE.  If one search doesn’t work, try using some of your other keywords.  Find additional keywords in articles that you have found and use those.


Subject Guide

Elena Bianco's picture
Elena Bianco
Norwood Cole Library, #S-123
Skagit Valley College
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Mount Vernon, WA 98273
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