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Scholarly information relevant to your studies can be found by searching databases.
UNSW Library databases have been evaluated and selected by subject specialists.
Using Library databases is an efficient way of searching a wide spectrum of literature. For example, if you are looking for literature on psychology, you would search PsycINFO, the premier psychology database, rather than searching individually through all the psychology journals in the library. A database search applies your keywords to hundreds of psychology journals. This will result in a greater number of relevant articles.
Read more about databases on the Academic information page, under the tab
Step 1: Analyse your topic for its key concepts.
For example, your question is:
"Discuss the impact of global warming on Australia’s water supply."
When you analyse your topic, look for the key concepts.
For this question, the key concepts are global warming, water supply, and Australia.
Step 2: Decide on the keywords you will use as search terms.
For this topic there are three concepts, so your keywords or phrases could include:
Concept 1: global warming, climate change, climatic change
Concept 2: rainfall, water, drought
Concept 3: Australia, Australasia
Step 3: Combine your search terms using Boolean logic when you are searching.
The Boolean operators, AND, OR and NOT, have special functions when they are used between search terms.
In this case, use the word AND. Your database search would be:
climate change and water and Australia
Look at your results. You will see that they are focused closely on the topic.
To increase the number of search results or broaden your search you can combine the alternative terms you have identified with the Boolean operator OR.
You will now retrieve an even larger set of results:
(climat* change or global warming ) and (water or drought or rainfall) and Austral*
Note: * is a truncation symbol that will search for everything starting with the first few letters of the word, for example, climat* will search for climate, climatic, climates, climatology
Helpful hints for database searching
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