MAPS Summer Bridge Program: Project IMPACT

Guidance and resources to complete the sustainability project

Library Research Guide

K-State Databases by Field

Searching Tips: Databases

Searching these resources is different from searching the Internet. K-State Libraries pays to subscribe to the databases; they are not found in an online search.

  • Keywords: Break your topic into key concepts; list relevant terminology/keywords and synonyms.
    • AND = both concepts must be present, limits the search (Ex. stormwater AND management)
    • OR = great for synonyms, expands the search  (Ex. "universal design" OR "inclusive design")
    • NOT = exclude an unrelated term, limits the search (Ex. "nigel coates" NOT "book review")
  • Advanced search: Search fields like journal title, publication date, institution, etc.
  • Subject headings: Use the language/terminology of a database by looking for a Thesaurus, Subject Headings, Subjects, Keywords, or Descriptors.
  • Truncation: Includes all possible endings: teen* searches for "teen", "teens", "teenager", "teenagers", etc.
  • Wildcard: Replaces any character: wom?n searches for "women" or "woman."
  • Help: Click help or for database-specific instructions.

Search Examples

Many library resources offer the option to combine your keywords using AND, OR, & NOT.  This can also be useful when searching online.  Use quotation marks to search for a name or phrase.

  • AND = All words must be present; helps limit the search.
    • sustainable AND food system
    • sustainability AND natural resources
    • food security AND united states
  • OR = Great for synonyms or variations of the same concept; helps broaden the search while staying within the subject area.
    • sustainable OR sustainability
    • sustainability OR conservation
    • tiny houses OR tiny homes
    • sustainable AND (agriculture OR farming)
    • wind farms OR wind power plants OR wind turbines
  • NOT = Exclude an unrelated term, or to weed out irrelevant results.
    • renewable energy NOT biofuel
    • (food waste AND restaurants) NOT grocery
    • (daylighting AND commercial) NOT residential