Queries for different purposes

In different situations, you need a different approach to your searches and queries.

For instance, if you want to have a result list few in number, but precise in topic you might try to

1) focus your search terms on the title field only. Usually, if a term occurs in a title, one might expect it to be a key concept in a text too.
2) look through only the latest results by sorting: ‘Date, descending’.

Examples of publication titles:

The cover of the book: Carbon inventory methods. The cover of the book: Plant biochemistry. The cover of the book: Introduction to stochastic processes with r.
A screen capture of the beginning of an online article. The title of the article is: Carbon inventory methods and carbon mitigation potentials of forests in Europe: a short review of recent progress. The terms carbon and inventory and methods are highlighted with yellow colour.

If your search topic is still somewhat unclear or you know that the topic is “rare”, i.e. you won’t expect to find lots of results, you can search with one or two terms only in order to

1) see the frequency of the term in a database: if it’s infrequent, there is no need to add any limiting terms to the query.
2) browse the results to get an idea what there is available and how you could possibly refine the query.

A screen capture of a search history in a database. The first query: "superhydrophobic glass", 38 document results. The second query: superhydrophobic AND glass AND (coating OR film), 691 document results. The third query: superhydrophobic  AND (coating OR film) AND glass, where the term glass is searched from the keywords-field, 342 document results.

If you need an extensive result of “all that is available” about the topic, you must

1) think different expressions and alternatives of the key concepts and
2) combine them to your query with the OR-operator.

A screen capture of a search history in a database. The query: (superhydrophobic* or hydrophobic* or self-cleaning surfaces” and (coating or film or sheet or membrane) and glass and (silic* or nano*), 551 document results.

Next page: Searching information of a different type