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Gambia: How to Search



Searches for resources with both terms.

Ex. Laurel AND Hardy


Searches for records that contain any of the search terms used.

Ex. seventies OR 70s OR 1970s


Excludes records containing the second term

Ex. Revolutionary War NOT American


Built in Tools - Most databases will have tools that you limit your results. Some examples include full text or scholarly.

  • Look for the "Advanced Search" option
  • Find the Help section and see what the searching sections offers.

Accepted by most databases:

  • Exact Phrase ("____") -  Put whatever your search terms are in quotation marks and the search engine will match resources based on exactly what you have typed.
    • Ex.  "Franklin D. Roosevelt"
  • Wildcards (*) / Truncation (?) - Allows a single search for words with a common root
    • Exs.   Multiple character  War* = war, warring, etc
    • Single Character wom?n = woman, women


How to identify Scholarly Sources

Scholarly sources in basic meet the following criteria:

  • The author's educational background, occupation, or organizational affiliation demonstrate expertise.
  • Intended audience
    • Vocabulary used
    • Background knowledge needed to understand content
  • Presence of references

The lists below highlight specific details according to resource type.


  • A respectable publisher. University presses want to ensure materials published under their name are reputable.


  • Contain few photographs, graphics or advertisements
  • Report research, document case studies and refer to previous scholarly work through bibliographies in long, in-depth articles
  • Sponsored by an academic or professional organization
  • Tend to be published monthly or quarterly
  • Only publish articles that have been reviewed by other experts in the field who confirm the quality of the research performed.


Struggling to come up with terms?  Try a thesaurus: