Choose keywords that represent the main concept(s) of your research topic. Then, as needed:
- Use AND
This will narrow your search, since search results will include only documents that contain all of the words linked by AND.
- Use OR
This will broaden your search, since search results will include documents that contain any of the words linked by OR. Terms linked by OR should be put between parentheses.
- Use quotation marks
This will find documents that contain the exact phrase placed between the quotation marks.
- Use * (an asterisk)
This will find various endings of the word fragment before the *. For example, searching for manage* will find documents containing manager, managers, management, etc. Note that you can use an asterisk in a phrase enclosed in quotation marks (e.g., "virtual team*").
Note, too, that some databases allow you to use a ? (a question mark) or other symbol as a wildcard character that replaces exactly one letter. This can be a useful way to find articles that may use different spellings of a word (e.g., the British spelling of organisation and the American spelling of organization). Consult a database's "help" or "search tips" page to see whether the database allows wildcard characters and, if so, which character it uses for this.
- Use a proximity operator
A proximity operator tells a database to find documents in which your search terms appear within a certain number of words from each other. Note that different databases use different proximity operators, so you should consult a database's "help" or "search tips" page to see whether the database allows for proximity searching and, if so, which operators it uses.
Sample search: manage* AND communicat* n10 ("virtual team*" OR "distributed team*")
Found too many results?
- Add more keywords, using AND
If you find that you are retrieving too many results, add more keywords to reflect additional concepts of interest related to your topic.
Sample search: manage* AND communicat* n10 ("virtual team*" OR "distributed team*") AND trust
Found too few results?
- Add more keywords, using OR
If you are having trouble finding enough results, add synonyms or related terms for terms already used in your search statement.
Sample search: manage* AND communicat* n10 ("virtual team*" OR "distributed team*" OR "remote team*" OR "dispersed team")