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Research Toolkit: Found Too Much/Too Little

Tools, techniques, and resources to help you find the information you need.

Having too many or too few search results can be really frustrating. Before you get too discouraged, try one (or more) of the tips below to get unstuck.

Too Many Search Results

 Find better search terms or keywords. Think of keywords that are more specific and try changing the keywords and terms you are using.

 Use more and more keywords or search terms. Start with a small number of keywords and then add more terms or try different terms based on your results. 

 Use limiters. Limiters such as date and resource type will give you more specific results. 

 Narrow down your topic. Think about a more focused aspect of your topic or various angles of your topic. 

Consider a more advanced search. By default, most databases search in the title, author, abstract, and subject fields related to the article. Experiment with searching in just the title or subject field in order to get more specific results. 

Too Few Search Results

Try a different database. Search in another database that specializes on the subject you are researching. You can view a list of Databases by Subject to help you choose the right one. You may have to try several databases. 

Change your search terms. Brainstorm new keywords and replace the terms you've been using with similar or related terms.

Broaden your topic. You may need to think more broadly about your topic.

Use fewer search terms. You get fewer results with each term you add to your search. Begin your search with fewer keywords and add more gradually, or try different terms based on your results. 

 Use fewer limiters. Try using only limiters that are absolutely necessary.