There is no one right way to search for articles. Want to save time and improve your search results? Consider learning and routinely using advanced search methods.
1. Use of Boolean logic: AND/OR
AND narrows your search:
exercise AND “immune system” (This combines two ideas and gets more specific results.
OR broadens your search:
herbal OR botanical (This will get results for either word.)
2. Use quotation marks around phrases
“dietary supplement” (This will find results with only that exact phrase.)
3. Use of parentheses to combine search techniques
(exercise OR diet) AND “weight loss” (This combines OR, AND, and phrase searching.)
4. Know the difference between keyword searching and subject searching
Most databases have standardized alphabetically listed subject terms that can reduce problems with keywords. For example all the articles on climate change, greenhouse effect, global warming will be listed under one of those terms.
5. Learn how to glean subject terms and keywords from articles that meet your needs
Beware: when using advanced search options in some databases you will need to change the search option to "Boolean/Phrase".
Confused at any point? Contact an ACC librarian. See HELP tab above.
Are peer-reviewed or scholarly articles required by your instructor?
Lots of our electronic resources allow you to limit by this parameter. Look for a checkbox to LIMIT your search on the main search screen of your resource.
This site lets you search for published literature related to the Healthy People 2020 topic areas such as
Clicking on a topic leads you to specific links to preformulated searches.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, have worked together to develop preformulated search strategies (structured evidence queries) that search high-quality, peer-reviewed scientific literature to identify research evidence for selected Healthy People 2020 objectives.