• Home
  • Some Search Terms Are Better Than Others

Some Search Terms Are Better Than Others

When you start a search it is important to use strong key words. Before you type in a word you think will lead you to information that interests you, take a moment to learn the words that writers on that topic use. Our library subject pages are a good place to start.

Some words are just too general. The word “library” for example, is tied to so many subjects, because libraries have resources on almost everything. So you need to use other words with it to narrow your search.

The word “statistics” is another word with broad usage. If you search Scholarsearch using just the word statistics you get 1,290,604 hits in our system. To our credit that is a much narrower search than Google’s 1,390,000,000 results. As you can see, you’ll need some other key words to focus your search. Just in case you are curious, the library search results for “statistics” break down into the following resource types:

Articles (1,152,191)
Books (43,201)
Text Resources (42,024)
reviews (41,249)
Other (12,165)
Journals (8,466)
newspaper_articles (2,980)
Dissertations (487)
Maps (399)
Images (314)
Indexes (224)
legal_documents (208)
Audio Visual (26)
conference_proceedings (2)
Web Sites (1)

If you add another key word, and let’s pick something happy, say, puppies and search for “statistics puppies” the results narrow to 362 items. From their you can narrow the search to Peer reviewed articles (328) or even books (18). If you want more advice on the best way to research a specific topic we suggest you make an appointment to meet with one of our subject librarians who can help you with search terms as well as suggesting the best resources for the discipline that interests you. It is a good investment of you study time since even if you find 18 books using the search terms statistics and puppies you will learn they are not about canines with amazing math skills.

(By the way a search on ‘library statistics” returns 41,852 items while “library statistics puppies” (no quotes used in search) returns 34 items. Yeah, we were surprised, too.)