You need to use keywords when searching for materials in library databases. Typing a whole question into a database search box will not yield as many useful results. As you search, keep track of different terms authors use when talking about your topic. Adding these to your search strategy will likely help you find more useful sources.
Most databases use what is called Boolean logic. This is a way to combine your keywords to make your searches more efficient. Boolean operators include AND (narrows your search), OR (broadens your search), and NOT (excludes terms to narrow further).
This short video gives an overview of the best way to search in a database:
Video Length: 1:28
Used with permission from the Ronald Williams Library at Northeastern Illinois University.
The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into most databases' search boxes.
If you find an article citation without access to the full text, try one of these tips: