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ENC 1101 - Steinhardt (Dale Mabry): Search tips

Links and tips for your research assignments.

First, choose some good keywords to start (2:59

From Kreitzberg Library, Norwich University. Closed captions and transcript available.

Next, search PRIMO - HCC Libraries new catalog and general search

Find books, articles, videos, & more

Here are some search examples

Let's say our research question is: Does using social media hurt college students' ability to communicate in-person? Below are some different searches with strategies explained:

  • "college students" and "social media" and communication
    • Putting "quotation marks" around words that go together searches them as a phrase, or one term.
    • "and" between terms tells the search engine to return only results containing all the words.
  • Same search, filtered by Resource Type: Books.
    • Filter your results to make them more precise.
    • Depending on your device, filters appear to the left of results, or above them at the filter icon
  • "college students" and "social media" and communication and "face to face" or "in person" 
    • Adding more words makes your search more specific. 
    • You can delete or reset your filters. Here, we are filtering by Publication Date and selecting a desired year range. 
    • "or" between terms tells the search engine to return results containing either one term or other - which is broader than using "or."

Keep in mind

  • Work from the general to the specific.
  • Stay organized to save time and frustration.
  • Keep track of what you find and where you found it.
  • Better to gather more sources than you'll actually end up citing.
  • Notice what's on the screen! Read it!  
    • Library search engines and databases include useful tools, such as:
      • Citation, email, saving, printing, translation, and more..
    • Library search engines and databases provide multiple ways to filter your results, such as:
      • By format, subject, date range of publication, peer-reviewed articles, and more.
  • Need help? Ask a librarian.