Sometimes keyword searches can retrieve too many articles that are not useful. When that happens, try a thesaurus. A subject thesaurus contains controlled vocabulary which can guide you to appropriate subject words or phrases, as well as refer you to broader or narrower words or phrases that will either encompass your word or phrase or be more specific than your word or phrase.
For Example: In Business Source Complete, click on Thesaurus on the Toolbar.
Type in: "Balance Sheet" (without the quotes).
The Thesaurus suggests: Use "Financial Statements" (without the quotes).
"Financial Statements" is a Subject Descriptor term that encompasses both the Income Statement and Balance Sheet. The Business Source Complete interface allows the user to limit to the Subject Descriptor field for searching the controlled vocabulary.
Thesauri often include "Scope Notes" with additional suggestions.
Getting Too Many Irrelevant Results?
For example, in the database Business Source Complete, if you type "banks" in the first search box, you may get thousands of articles. By adding another concept in the 2nd search box, such as "home loans," or "mortgages" or "interest rates," your results will be more focused.
For example, you can specify that you want the words in the search boxes to be found in a specific "field" such as the title field or the subject field. This usually reduces the number of articles retrieved and improves the quality of your results.
Getting Too Few Relevant Results?
Created by Katherine Miller and Tom Childs for Douglas College Library. Creative Commons license Share Alike.
Created by Douglas College Library staff. Creative Commons license Share Alike.