Library FAQ

Answers to common questions about doing research and using the library.

I have too many results. How can I narrow my search?

  |   0   0   |   Last updated on May 21, 2020    research process


There are a few techniques to try:

  • Think of terms that are more specific and try changing the keywords or terms.
  • Add search terms. You may find more specific or additional keywords in your search results or in the list of limiters in the Refine Search options.
  • Use limiters such as date and resource type to retrieve a targeted results list. For example, you can search for peer-reviewed articles within the past 5 years.
  • Think about a more focused aspect of your topic, such as
    • a single event
    • a specific group
    • a limited time period
    • one cause or effect
    • one argument or viewpoint.
  • Do not use OR between search terms.

Finding sources can be complicated. If you've been looking for 5 or 10 minutes and haven't found what you're looking for, contact us for help.

Adapted from Portland State University's Library DIY and Choosing a Manageable Research Topic from the John M. Pfau Library at California State University, San Bernardino.