very broad search with too many results (279884, to be precise)


Have you defined your topic too broadly?

Think carefully about your search terms. Be specific. Go back and look at the concept map constructed in 1.3 Map your ideas. This might help you to re-define your topic. Think of more specific terms and/or additional concepts you can add to your search.

For example: Rather than searching on ethical theories, search on a specific theory, such as utilitarianism.

Use subject searching:
this improves the relevancy while reducing number of results. See 2.3.1 Keyword or subject searching?.

Use field searching: reduces results by restricting the search to a particular field. See 2.4.2 Databases.

Use phrase searching: will look for a specific string of words next to each other exactly as keyed. See 2.3.5 Phrase searching.

Use limits

The limiting options available will depend on the search tool you are using. Common limits include:

Date or Year Limit to a specific date, year, or a range of dates or years.
Language Limit to resources available in a specific language.
Country or geographic Limit to information that focuses on a specific country or region.
Fulltext articles only Some databases may allow you to retrieve only articles available in fulltext. Use with caution- many articles can be found in fulltext elsewhere via Fulltext Finder. See 2.4.2 Databases.
Peer reviewed journals Some databases allow you limit to scholarly or peer reviewed information. See 1.7.3 Periodicals and 3.3.1 Reliability of the source
Article or document type Some databases allow you to limit by document type, such as a market report, case study, or editorial.
Domain Some Internet search tools allow you to limit by domain, which enables limiting by country and/or organisation type. See Tips for searching the Internet.
Format Some Internet search tools allow you to limit by file format such as .pdf or .doc files.