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Linguistics: Databases

A guide to library resources for the study of linguistics

Database Search Tips

AND requires all specified words to appear in each item
         e.g. semantics AND metaphor

OR    requires any of the specified words to appear in each item
         e.g. homograph* OR homonym* OR homophone*
NOT  excludes terms not desired
          e.g. syntactic change NOT morphological change
Combining ideas
       e.g. (dialect* OR regionalism*) AND (English language) AND (Canad* OR Saskatchewan OR prairie*)
  •         prioritize your concepts to begin your search with the most important one
  •         consider additional concepts to use, if necessary, to reduce or expand retrieval
  •         if the database has a thesaurus, either online or print, check for suggested terms



Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

Having Problems?

Not finding enough material?

  •           if you have combined several concepts using AND, start again and search only the most important one. Then add the next most important  one, and so forth
  •           look at each concept and see if you can think of additional synonyms (use OR)
  •           if you are searching free-text, look at your terms carefully and think of ways to broaden your phrasing

 Finding too much material?

  •         look at a sample of the items retrieved; if a high proportion is not relevant, add another concept
  •         sometimes irrelevant records may be eliminated by NOTing out a particular aspect or population
  •         try limiting by language, date, form of material, particular field instead of free-text