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Research Toolkit: Found Too Much/Too Little

Too many or too few search results can be frustrating. Before you get discouraged, try some these tips to get unstuck.

 

Too Many Search Results

 

 Find better keywords or search terms.
Think of keywords that are more specific and try changing the keywords and terms you are using.

 Use more keywords or search terms.
Start with a few keywords and then add more terms or try different terms based on your results. 

 Use limiters.
Limiters such as date and source type will give you more specific results. 

 Narrow down your topic.
Think about a more focused aspect of your topic or other angles of your topic. 

Consider a more advanced search.
Most databases search on words in the title, author, abstract, and subject fields.
Experiment with searching in just the title or subject field in order to get more specific results. 

 


Too Few Search Results

 

Try a different database.
Search in another database that specializes on the subject you are researching.
View a list of Library Databases and narrow them by subject to help choose a relevant one. You may have to try several databases. 

Change your search terms.
Brainstorm new keywords and replace the terms you've been using with similar or related terms.

Broaden your topic.
You may need to think more broadly about your topic.

Use fewer search terms.
The more words you use in your search, the fewer results you will get.
Begin your search with fewer keywords and add more gradually, or try different terms based on your results. 

 Use fewer limiters.
Use limiters only if you really need to narrow your search results.