Q. Can you give me some EOLAS Advanced Search Tips?

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Search Limiters

Field Searching

Try out a search

Boolean Operators

Phrase Searching



Keywords, Phrases, synonyms, acronyms , Subjects.. and correct spelling :  )

We always scribble our keywords on a bit of paper, and add to that list as our search progresses. The keywords and phrases you use will change as your searches progress. Most articles have a section just after the abstract that lists keywords , make sure you add relevant ones to your bit of paper as you go.

What's the difference between a keyword and a Search Term ?

Sometimes we use the terms interchangeably, but the search terms or search phrases are the ones you type into the search box. The keywords are words or phrases that the publisher or author or Google selected as a searchable term.

Think of keywords terms or  subjects like twitter hash tags. Look for hyperlinked ones as you do your searches. if your spelling is as bad as mine, type keywords into Microsoft word first and you will  get underlines on incorrect spellings. Think about acronyms and synonyms, and well words that mean different things depending on context. (apple is a fruit but is also an American company)

You also need to think about depreciated or outdated terms and also words and spellings that are used in America v UK or Ireland. Zucchini anyone? Nursing homes are now "Residential care centres"

In terms of acronyms, you might need to search for the acronym and or the long version. Example: E.coli (Escherichia coli) Try both and see what gives you the bigger hit count. There is a huge difference between the two. the nice thing about EOLAS is that it suggests using an OR Boolean .

e.coli search


Broad and Narrow Keywords

You need to play around with your keywords. Sometimes you need to search for a broad term like fruit, but you will be overwhelmed by the number of results, maybe you need to search for apples or bananas instead. fruit analogies are fun

Example: you need to find out about motivation in the workplace and perhaps describe what hinders or helps motivation levels. 

motivation - too broad- you will also get a lot of hits on sports motivation

motivation workplace - good

motivation workplace increase- good and a bit narrower  (you could use the word boost, determiner, productivity etc. ) I use thesaurus.com sometimes or do a generic google search first just to get a few keywords.

Search Limiters

This is really important!! The search limiters can really narrow your search to relevant hits. You typically limit by:

  • Type of content- book, ebook, journal article, conference paper
  • Peer reviewed
  • Year of Publication
  • Language

Field Searching

This is also very important. If you still find you are getting a lot of hits (results) and they are not hugely relevant, then use the field searching tip. A search for the words covid europe gets me 157,287 hits. If I use the field searching to tell EOLAS i want those words to appear in the abstract, my results count goes down to 4,298. If I then use my peer review limiter, it goes to 828. Because i have used the peer review limiter, I have also automatically limited to just journal articles. 

search for covid europe

search for renewable energy and wind energy without quotes

search for "renewable energy" and "wind energy"

Field Codes- you can use capitalised field codes instead if you like. For example type AU Kotler or IB 9780273753360 (ISBN)

Try an EOLAS Search now.

Boolean Operators

Use Phrase Searching

When your search string includes phrases, the default search order is that phrases are searched in the order in which they are typed in and with the words right next to each other. You use quotation marks for this. You can see the difference above in the number of results from the renewable energy search. Phrase searching works very well in a Google search too. 

example: "global warming", "wind farm", "job satisfaction", "medical device regulation" Can be used in the simple or the advanced search. 

Subject Terms

Sometimes you can veer off topic a bit and applying a subject term can really help with this. 

  • Last Updated Mon,Feb,2021
  • Views 279
  • Answered By Aine Meehan

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