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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Basic Search Techniques: Filtering

organizing and executing a search for information

Filtering

Steps

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.