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Advanced Searching: Introduction & Simple Steps

This guide will help you with advanced searching, which means searching more specifically and more deeply than a basic or general search, both in IADT Library and on the wider internet.

What is advanced searching?

There are many ways you can get more out of your search results. If you think you aren't finding what you need when you search the Library or the internet, widening or narrowing your search using the methods below can help you find what you are looking for.

Advanced searching can mean the methods you use to search more deliberately, or it can mean the 'advanced search' forms on a website, (often found as an option to click just below the main search bar). 

If you need help searching you can email and we can help.

Simple steps

The below methods are some simple ways that you can improve your searches without getting in to any of the more complicated methods of searching, which you'll find in the next tab above.

These methods are easy to remember and can be used in almost any search you do. 

Using "quotation marks" will especially help when searching Google Scholar.

Improve your results by using "quotation marks"

One of the things which will make your searching much for effective and efficient is utilising quotation marks " "

If some words in your search are very generic, such as development or history or design, then you will get far too many search results as those words will appear in nearly every piece of writing. 

To make sure you are searching for the exact thing you need, use quotation marks to search your words as a phrase, rather than as individual words. 

This will eliminate irrelevant search results where only one of your terms appears. 

For example, instead of searching for social media marketing, which contains generic words found in lots of publications, search for "social media marketing"

You can see an example of the difference that using quotation marks can make in the number of search results. 

Here is the number of results of academic journals searching for social media marketing: 13,994


And here is the number of results when searching for "social media marketing": 5,584

There are still a large number of results, and you'd need to narrow down the search further by using the techniques on this page, or by limiting it to a certain date range, but the difference is still stark. 

Clickable subject headings

If you find an item that is very useful to you, click on any of the subject words on the items page, and it will show you all the other items that are also under that subject. This works for IADT Library's search as well as for almost all database searches. This can help you ensure you know all possible synonyms for your topic, ensuring you conduct a thorough search for your literature review. 

Contact us

Please feel free to contact us about any question you have - about this subject or anything else you need help with. Library staff are available to provide help and answer queries online/remotely and in-person on Level 1 of the Library.

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