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SED 220 - Exceptional Children

This guide is designed to assist you in locating the sources needed for the literature review assignment.

Searching Strategies

Search Strategies

Introduction to [Subject]

On this page, review the best strategies to use when conducting research.

If you need help navigating WorldCat or any EBSCOhost databases (like ERIC), scroll to the bottom for some image examples.

Advanced Searching Strategies

Four Advanced Search Strategies

Advanced Kinds of Search Strategies

There are four kinds of searching options. Good searchers are aware of each one and when and how to use them interchangeably or based on the database requirements.

1. Word Strings:

Can also be thought of as building-block searching. Taking major words or phrases from your topic or thesis, use various combinations or with synonyms to search databases.

2. Boolean searching:

Uses particular words to expand or narrow your search results. (They are very useful in word strings.)  See a more detailed description in the next section.

3. Changing Natural Language to Scholarly Language:
    (or subject headings and sub-headings)

Scholars don’t always use words that everyone else does. Using language from your class, textbooks, and other scholarly sources can often reveal more resources. You must also use subject headings or at least be aware of them when using databases like PubMed and Medline.

4. Citation Pearl-Growing:

If you find a good and current article, try exploring the sources cited in footnotes or bibliographies. This can help you discover the primary authors who are doing research in your field, as well as other useful resources. As always, be sure to evaluate the resource.


Accomplished and skilled researchers are able to determine basic aspects of database organization using multiple strategies like these. When researching it is useful to understand background information, bibliographies, and the vocabulary of the discipline. You should use a wide variety of tools and use them wisely, and not depend on one specific source.

Boolean Search Basics

Boolean Search Basics

Boolean Operators & Examples

By using these connectors when employing library searches you will achieve the best results.

Boolean Search Video

Other Searching Techniques

Other Searching Techniques

Tips for Efficient Searching

Searching EBSCO Host Databases

Searching EBSCOhost Databases

Searching Academic Search Premier & other EBSCOhost databases

These still images provide some captions to help you understand how to search smarter and more efficiently.

Entering Search terms in Academic Search Premier


Next, try other ways of narrowing by Source Type or access the PDF Full Text of the article or request through Interlibrary Loan.

Other Limits in ASP and how to access articles

Searching WorldCat

Searching WorldCat

Searching WorldCat

Begin by typing in search terms. 

  • Related terms can be connected with OR to search both at one time.
  • Major concepts of your topic can been connected with AND.
  • Save time searching by using an asterisk. The (*) on [immigra* AND polic*] will look for any number of endings for those root words.

    immigra* = immigrant, immigration

    polic* = policy, policies

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