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SIR - Student Inquiry and Research: Find Articles

Search Tips

  • Use strong keywords: Pick out the most important words/concepts in your research question. Use keywords such as those experts and scholars would use. These are usually nouns
  • Avoid terms that can be used in many settings (like effect, impact, develop)
  • Use Advanced Search and group keywords by concept: Use OR between synonyms (expands your results); use AND to combine different subjects (narrows your results)
    • dental OR teeth OR tooth OR oral
    • acid AND batteries
  • Search multiple endings of a word: Use asterisk, e.g., econom* for economy, economic, economies
  • Search exact phrases: Use double quotes. "coral reef"
  • Limit results: Choose publication years, scholarly or peer-reviewed, full text, etc.
  • Sort results: Choose most recent first or most relevant first

2 ways to search

Try both types of searches:

Search Box on IRC homepage (searches multiple databases simultaneously)

  • Enter keywords
  • Capitalize Boolean operators: AND OR
  • Limit to "items from scholarly publications including peer review"
  • Exclude newspapers
  • Use double quotes for phrases: "global warming"
  • Use * for variant endings: "plant*"


  • On search results page refine your search using options on left side:
    • Limit to items in the library catalog or book reviews, for ex.
    • Consider Subject Terms
    • Limit Publication Date
    • Specify Language

Power Search (by individual database)

  • Link to a specific database -- see lists on right
  • Use Expert Searcher Tips below

    General Science Databases

    Science Specific Databases

    General Databases