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Library Advanced Research Competencies: Advanced Search Techniques

LARC, the Library Advanced Research Competencies tutorial, provides an overview of research concepts and practices from the perspective of the student as an active participant in the production of information.

Worksheet and Example

Watch: Search How-tos

This video demonstrates how to break down a research topic into key concepts and generate terms for searching.

This video was created by  Renee Romero and Doug Worsham of the UCLA Powell Library. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

To find scholarly sources that are a good fit for your research, it helps to choose and combine search terms that reflect the specificity and complexity of academic research topics. This video demonstrates how to combine key terms to get more relevant search results.

This video demonstrate how to effectively in library databases, including how to filter and sort your results, read a database record, and use context clues from a database to evaluate sources.

Databases use controlled vocabularies to describe articles. Controlled vocabularies prioritize certain ways of describing information, making it easier to organize and find that information. However, the subject terms used by databases may not be the first terms that come to mind when you brainstorm on your subject of inquiry. Use your search results to learn how a database describes your topic.


The contents of the Library Advanced Research Competencies tutorial may be reused with attribution. Please copy the following into new works based on the Library Advanced Research Competencies:
Creative Commons LicenseLibrary Advanced Research Competencies by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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