If you search a catalog or database and receive a large number of results, add a limit or additional keyword in order to retrieve a manageable and relevant number of results to review. At the same time overly narrow search terms can return too few results. One way of solving both problems is to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT). They allow you to define concepts and determine their relationships. They also give you opportunities to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.
A search for migrant AND protection will return items that contain both terms:
immigrant OR refugee allows you to put related words together with results that contain either one of the terms or both:
human rights NOT trafficking returns items that talk about humans rights issues but do not mention trafficking:
An important strategy to use when searching for phrases ("human rights") or titles:
"Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Identity"
will search for those words in that order, finding the 2018 book by Ahmed Akbar addressing tensions over Islam.
Truncation and Wildcards:
Most catalogs and databases (but not Google) enable users to search variations of keywords by using truncation (*) or wildcard (e.g., ?, $, !) symbols.
For example, one could search for politic* to find poltic, politics, political, politicking, and so on.
Wildcard searches are for differences within words: a search for wom?n will return results for woman, women, and womyn.
When pairing two or more keywords and connecting them to other concepts, it is important to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search. (immigrant* OR refugee*) AND ("human right*" OR asylum)
Focus Your Search:
Choose where the database is searching. It may be set automatically for keyword. You can make the search more precise by looking instead for subjects only when certain ideas are especially important
Putting Your Search Statement Together:
(immigrant* OR immigration OR refugee*) AND ("human right*" OR asylum) AND
( "united nations" OR ngo* OR "nongovernment* organization*) in All Subjects & Indexing Limited to publications 2015-present
In Proquest Research Library this search returns 218 scholarly articles including:
Surviving trafficking, seeking asylum: waiting, status and the state
Murphy, Carole. The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy; Vol. 41, Iss. 5/6, (2021): 627-642.
Family Separation under the Trump Administration: Applying an International Criminal Law FrameworkFrye, Reilly. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology; Vol. 110, Iss. 2, (Spring 2020): 349-377.