Now that we have our personalized relevant results, we can click into one of them and see where else we can take the search from here. The results themselves, called "item records," actually hold some very useful tools for refining a search called "subject headings." These can be used throughout the search process and are especially useful in Step 3.
Step 3) Refine the Search
Subject headings allow you to quickly find resources related to a previously found useful resource, so they can save you a lot of time and reveal to you new avenues for searching. Learn how to find them in item records below.
Step 3a) Subject Headings
When you finish any search and get a list of results, you always learn more about the thing you're researching. You can use this information to better understand what to look for, and what new interesting things you might also want to learn about. In fact, during the course of searching you might actually find something that interests you so much that you want to make your whole project about it! This is actually one of the best ways to find things to do projects about. It is also one of the best ways to keep developing your searches in order to find results that are even more relevant to your projects or interests. To that end, thinking about this information at the end of a search is a useful step in itself.
Step 3b) Reflect and Return to Step 1
Reflect: What did I learn from my current search? For the purposes of this example search we've been doing, let's think about what we've learned about the history of cookies from this search.
Return to Step 1: With all this information, we can go back to the beginning of Step 1 and create new searches to better find the things that are relevant to our project until we find enough that we feel comfortable moving on. As you can see, the search process is a circle, and every search you do helps you learn more. So, if you're ever doing a lot of searches and aren't finding good resources, please don't feel frustrated or like you're wasting your time! It's all part of the process, and the more you do it the easier and faster it gets!
There are also other search tools that can be useful in this step, to search more effectively in databases. We'll continue our cookies example search for one extra step in "Other Search Tools: Exact Phrase Searching and Truncation" below.
Databases have other tools that searchers can use to better find relevant results. Learn about two of the most powerful, exact phrase searching and truncation, below.
Exact Phrase Searching
With all of these steps and search tools, you should be ready to search for things in the future. These steps and tools aren't just limited to academic searching. You can use most of the concepts from them in any type of search, such as Google searches! The specifics might be different (maybe they don't allow you to use truncation, maybe the exact phrase search uses the single quotation mark 'like this' instead of the double "like this"), but either way knowing about these tools will allow you to be a better searcher both now and in the future, even after you graduate.
Now that you're done with the tutorial, please go to the Next Steps tab above (or click here) to finish this LibGuide!