Refining Your Results

Too many?

  • Be more specific.Change any keywords that are too general for your topic.

NB: Enclose two or more word phrases in speech marks. 


  • Add more keywords to help specify the context or a particular aspect of your topic.


  • Make use of available limiters.


  • Exclude irrelevant results using NOT. Used before a keyword, it will remove any results with that term.


  • Check whether there is a more subject specific resource to use. Refer to your Subject Guide.


Too few?

  • Try broader keywords. Does your search include keywords that are too specific?


  • Expand your search using synonyms. Have you included all relevant terminology used to describe your topic?


  • Remove any excess keywords that might be making your search too specific.


  • Use truncation to include other words that start the same. This requires putting an asterix after the root word. E.g. child* will return child, children, childhood, etc.


  • Check you’re using the most appropriate resource. There may be a subject specific resource that will give you better results. Check your respective subject guide.

If you require further help with finding resources please ask at the desk or contact the Information & Learning Technologies Librarian.

Adam Smith
ph| (06) 974 8000, extension 6067