11 top search tips

1. Use "quotation marks"

To search for an exact phrase or to search for the title of a book or article, use quotation marks to find these words together, e.g.:

  • "corporate social responsibility"
  • "the psychology of anxiety"
  • "when and how is corporate social responsibility profitable"

2. Use trial and error - your first search doesn't need to be perfect

Thinking of good search terms to use is not easy, so don't just do one search and give up. If you don't find what you need, try change your search terms - look through your search results to find new words to use, if you find a relevant article - look at the keywords and subject terms it uses. And don't copy your entire assignment question into the search box.

3. Filter by publication date

Looking for recent information? Apply a publication date filter (this is a better option than the Sort by Date option).

Also check out Using filters.

4. Filter by format (such as books, articles)

Looking for books? Select the Books and eBooks format filter. This will exclude articles, reviews, conference papers and other formats from the results.

Looking for articles? Select the Articles format filter. This will exclude books, reviews and other formats from the results.

Also check out Using filters.

5. Filter by peer-reviewed

Do you need to find peer-reviewed articles? Select the peer-reviewed filter as well as the Articles format filter.

Also check out Using filters.

6. Filter to online or hardcopy material

Only want to find online content? Select the Available online filter.

Looking for items in the Library? Select the Available in hardcopy filter. You can also select a specific branch (e.g. Law Library) and limit results to just that Library.

Also check out Using filters.

7. Search by DOI

One of the quickest ways to find an article is if you know the article's DOI (Digital Object Identifier) - simply copy/paste this into the search box.

10.7196/SAJBL.2018.v11i2.664 (don't include https://doi.org/ in the search).

8. Look for related readings

Found the perfect book or article? Look for the related readings - click on the title in the search results then look for the related items list (in the right side of the screen).

Also check out Find related readings.

9. Found the perfect article? Follow the citation trail

Look for the Cited by section to find:

  • links to other articles that cite your perfect article
  • links to articles in the reference list of your perfect article.

Also check out Found the perfect article?.

10. Don't use complicated Boolean - unless you know what you are doing!

It can be easy to get Boolean wrong or use wildcards and truncation incorrectly resulting in irrelevant search results. Try using the Advanced Search first, you often get better results.

If you want to perform more complex searches check out: Use Boolean, wildcards and truncation for the correct operators and symbols to use.

11. Try Google Scholar instead!

Did you know that you can search Google Scholar and automatically link to the online version of articles in the Library Search?

Check out Findfulltext@QUT in Google Scholar to learn how to set up your Library links.