EC 596/597: Graduate Student Research Resources: Searching Databases
Basic Search Mechanisms (Boolean)
Be sure to use Caps for AND, OR, NOT when searching.
AND - searches for papers and articles containing both terms. Example: China AND Trade
OR - searches for one of the words. Example: British OR English
NOT - exclude a term. Example: Wales NOT England
Parenthetical notes () - excellent for OR or NOT searches. Like a math equation, the database will do this part first.
Example: (British OR English) AND trade = search for British or English trade.
Example: (Oregon NOT Portland) AND Crime = search for crime in Oregon, excluding Portland.
Quotation Marks ""- Links words together in the search. Works best for phrases or proper names.
Example: "United States"
Example: "Portland State University"
Warning: You might exclude results. A search for "Republic of Ireland" will exclude all results for "Ireland."
Asterisk * - Allows you to search several word endings at once, without using OR.
Example: America* will give you results for America, American, Americans.
Example: econ* will give you results for economics, economic, economists, economical, econometric...
Example: Brit* will give you British, Britain, Brits.
Warning: You may get unexpected results. Brit* will also yield Brittany, Britons, and Britches.
1) Begin with a research question:
What was the impact of the US withdrawal from the trans pacific partnership?
2) Identify key terms:
"Trans Pacific Partnership"
3) Consider possible synonyms.
"Trans Pacific Partnership" or TPP or "Trans-Pacific Partnership"
Withdrawal or withdraw or withdrew.
4) Based on the key words, use boolean to create a search using AND and OR (See Search Techniques tab)
"trans-pacific partnership" AND "united states" AND withdrawal
This search will work in any database, including EconLit and GoogleScholar:
Using Articles to Find More Articles
Peer-reviewed materials will include a literature review section and a list of citations. Once you find a single recent article on your topic, you can use these resources to find additional materials.
1) Find a recent article on your topic.
2) Use the literature review in the article to find sources.
3) Use the list of references to find resources.
4) Search the title of the article in GoogleScholar to see what recent publications have cited the article.