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CELC Critical Thinking and Writing Modules   Tags: apa, citation style, databases, e-resources, eresources, es2007d, es2007s, sp1203, turabian, writing  

Last Updated: May 27, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

How to search Print Page


The topic is: gender communication differences in the workplace 


Basic keywords are: 

gender         communication         differences         workplace


How to get more relevant keywords:

1. Use the Subject Terms or Controlled Vocabulary or Thesaurus terms. These usually appear at the Results.


2. Use the suggested tag clouds.




3. Use the keywords used by the author in his article.


How do you choose relevant sources?

  1. Look at Subject Guides. Each guide lists databases, journals, etc.
  2. Look at the pages on how to search for Books and list of major Databases.



    Search Sources

    Keywords are into search boxes of a database (eg. Business Source Premier).

    This is sometimes called a "search statement". It is stringing keywords together with Boolean operators (such as AND, OR, etc).

    gender AND differences AND communication AND workplace


    To get more results, the next search could be:

    (gender or sex or women or men)

    AND differen*

    AND communicat*

    AND workplace*


    To narrow down your topic, the search could be:

    (gender or sex or women or men)

    AND differen*

    AND communicat*

    AND workplace*

    AND interpersonal conflict


    Or like this:

    (gender or sex or women or men)

    AND differen*

    AND communicat*

    AND workplace*

    AND conflict* n5 manag*


      Search Tips

      The pyramid below shows the searches that would retrieve, from the top to bottom - the most relevant results ("Quality") or the most number of results ("Quantity").

      How does this work?

      Look at your current search statement. If your search uses Boolean AND like this:

      biofuels AND environmental AND sustainability


      but you want to get more results, your next search should then be:

      biofuel* AND environment* AND sustain*  <=Applying the truncation symbol


      (biofuels OR bioenergy OR biomass energy) AND (environmental sustainability OR climatic change) <= Applying OR


      (biofuel* OR bioenergy OR biomass energy) AND (environment* sustain* OR climat* chang*) <= Applying a combination of OR and truncation.



      1. A phrase search retrieves the most relevant results. By encasing the relevant keywords in quotes, the database will only give you articles with that phrase.


      2. Proximity operators or adjanceny operators require each keyword to be within a certain number of words of each other. The example given here using N5 (or near5) means:

      "biofuels" is 0-5 words of "environmental sustainability" and vice versa

      Other promixity operators are within5 or w/5, adj/5 and so on.


      3. To do a more comprehensive search, string alternative keywords of a concept with OR.


      4. Searching with a truncation symbol at the end of a word retrieves more results. For example:


      will retrieve articles with the words:





      5. Searching with words suggested by the database's Thesaurus or Controlled Vocabulary will be more relevant.  For example:

      alternative energy includes biofuels, biomass, etc. This means your search is more efficient and effective covering all relevant articles.


      6. Field searches are highly relevant as your search is confined to only that field. For example:

      Toyota in the Company Field

      This means articles retrieved must have Toyota indexed in the Company field. If Toyota is mentioned in passing along with Honda or Nissan but not indexed in the Company field then, the article is not primarily about Toyota.


      7. Example of limiters in some databases are industry codes (eg. energy or power industry) or document type (eg. conference paper, case study, etc) or even a date range.

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