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Tarleton State University Libraries Unit 4
WRAP-UP: Searching Effectively
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Now that you have read Unit 4 and performed the activities, you should have a solid understanding of ways to execute effective and efficient searches. As a brief review, the following list summarizes key information from this unit:

•  Identify search terms.
Analyze your topic to determine key concepts.
•  Use controlled vocabulary terms as needed.
Consult a subject heading thesaurus or subject guide (print or online) to determine possible search terms.
•  Figure out alternative search terms.
Think about possible synonyms. Look at subject terms and descriptors in online item records for possible terms. Browse periodical indexes and abstracts for terms.
•  Refine searches as needed.
Analyze your search terms and develop a strategy for combining the terms to enhance the relevance of results. Use refinement techniques to your best advantage.
•  Learn each search tool's features.
Read the help tips and experiment with searches to determine which approaches work best when using a specific search tool.
•  Get help when you need it.
Consult with librarians by phone, in person, or online (email or virtual reference) when you need assistance. Do not hesitate to ask for help. Ask early and ask often.

It's now time to start applying what you've learned about creating effective searches by using various techniques in specific search tools, such as the catalog and databases. The next unit explains the functions and features of the libraries' online catalog and offers search strategy tips for using the catalog.

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Library Orientation Site Index
Updated 7/2004