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Michigan State University

Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics Research: Database Search Tips

Searching Article Indexes

  • Make a list of 10-15 key terms related to your research problem or question. You can add new terms as you go along.
  • You can start with keyword searching but mine the results list of relevant hits for subject terms for a more focused search.
  • Alternatively, you can start with the subject terms (sometimes also called "descriptors" or "subjects") used by a database and use those terms in a 'subject' search. To find subject terms, use the blue 'Thesaurus' link in Econlit.
  • Use the 'Advanced' search screen so that you can combine search terms or add limiters.
  • Use 'and' between terms (no quotes) to limit search results.
  • Use 'or' between terms (no quotes) to expand search results.
  • Use () to group search terms. Example: (biofuel or biomass) and supply chain.
  • Use the database's limiters, such a date limit, or document type limit to retrieve journal articles or proceedings only.
  • Collect more subject terms by viewing the subject terms of relevant articles. These are usually hyperlinked and listed just before the abstract (summary)
Michigan State University