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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Basic Search Techniques: Filtering

organizing and executing a search for information



Although the Venn diagram helps to organize your thoughts, it does not address the issue of "how much?" It's still possible to retrieve too many useful items; even worse, you may retrieve too few.

For too much

  • Add another concept, such as a specific application
  • Limit by dates, such as the last 5 years
  • Limit by language, such as English only
  • Limit by document type, such as only journal articles

For too litle

  • Remove one or more concepts from the Venn diagram lists
  • Accept
    • all languages
    • all dates
    • all document types
    • all formats (print as well as online)

In fact, it's wise to begin a search by ignoring the dates, languages, etc. until you know what's available. If the important work is in Japanese, you may have to find translations or pick another topic.