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This page supports the teaching and learning needs of the School of Nursing in Bloomington.

Getting Started

Let's Talk Strategy:

You wouldn't want to rush into the big game without a plan, or hike into the woods without a compass and map, right? 
It's easy to get lost in the amount of information that can be found in databases. You may pick out the perfect keywords only to find little to no results related to your topic. Does that mean the information you need isn't out there? Not necessarily! 
Think about your research question, the scope of your investigation, and the keywords you may have begun generating for your topic. 
In order to find and use information, you may need to take a step back and think about what you've already identified. 

Ask yourself some of the following questions: 

  • Is this the right search engine or database? Can I find the information I need here? 
  • What keywords am I using? Is there another way to talk about what I'm trying to find? Do the people talking about this topic use different terms or phrases than I'm using? 
  • Could I use controlled language or subject terms? What types of labels has the database assigned to similar sources? 
  • What other requirements am I looking for and how can I narrow my results? Does it need to be scholarly or peer-reviewed? Does this information need to be a recent as possible?
You can also modify your results using various search strategies. The default of search engines and most databases is to separate keywords and search for them separately.

Generating Keywords

This quick, 3-minute video explains how to develop keywords. Thinking strategically about your research question and the terms can help you navigate the vast amount of resources more quickly. 

The Power of And, Or, & Not

In a library database, you can control your results by connecting keywords with AND, OR, NOT, and by using other search strategies like putting "quotation marks" around phrases to keep them together in the search.
Use AND to narrow your results. Your results must include each term.
Use OR to broaden your results. Your results could include any one of the terms. 
Use NOT to exclude terms from your results. 
Quotation marks narrow your results by keeping words in a phrase together. 

Boolean Operators

We can often do research without really thinking about it. But how do we know if our research strategy is the best or most efficient? What if we can't remember what's worked well or what hasn't in the past? 

Searching Google Like a Pro

Linking Google Scholar to IU Libraries Full-Text

When you search Google Scholar on your personal computer, you can configure your settings so that IU Libraries resource links appear in your results. Then you can click the IU-Link to access the full-text copy.
(TIP: If you're at a temporary computer and don't want to activate these settings, you can access Google Scholar via the Libraries' website (go to the IU Libraries home page and scroll all the way to the bottom). You'll be prompted to login with your IU Login, and then you'll see the full-text IU-Link as well.)


To configure your Google Scholar Library Links, click on Settings, in the left-hand column.

Then select Library Links and search for "Indiana University - Bloomington - IU-Link." You can also add "INDIANA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES AT BLOOMINGTON - ProQuest Fulltext" and "Open WorldCat - Library Search" for the most comprehensive access to full-text articles available through IU Bloomington. Check the boxes in the search select and click "Save."

Using a Research Log to Document Your Search

research log is a document that helps you keep track of and think about how you search for sources. A research log can be as informal as jotting down keywords and notes informally, or it can be more structured like writing annotations or summaries of sources and how they might fit into your project. 


Materials from the Information Literacy Toolkit by Meg Meiman, which adapted materials from Maria Accardi & Tessa Withorn's Canvas module Access & Use.