1. Use more than one search term. By using specific search terms to narrow your search, you can locate documents that better fit your information needs. The following sample results are hypothetical:
Number of Hits
2. Be specific. If you're looking for information about bone cancer, enter both of those words in your search. If you enter just cancer, your search will give you more results than you want.
3. Broaden your search by using OR. For example, if you need documents about accidents and injuries, use the search string accidents OR injuries. Using OR will increase the number of documents that are found because it will match records that contain either and both of your terms; that is, it will find documents that contain just the word accidents, plus documents with just the word injuries, plus documents that contain both of these words. You can do this from the search box on the home page and on the Advanced Search page.
4. Use plural or other word endings. If you are looking for discussions of tests, you can search for various forms of the word using the OR operator as the connector; for example, tests OR testing OR tested. (Note: This kind of detailed searching is recommended and is most useful when doing full-text searches from the Advanced Search page.) You can also use the wildcard feature (a.k.a. truncation) to retrieve both singular and plural forms and variations of a word. In the examples below, note the differences between using the ! (exclamation point) and the * (asterisk):
Example Retrieves test! test, tests test* test, tests, testing, testosterone, etc.
5. Try using synonyms for your original words. For example, enter nervous breakdown OR mental breakdown OR nervous disorder OR mental instability.
6. Check your spelling. If you type cardaic instead of cardiac, your search won't find any matches. However, in the left sidebar, you will see a subject guide that is in the alphabetical vicinity of the first word of your search. On the list of possibilities, you should see the word cardiac which is the correct spelling. Select the link to use the word in a new search.
Source: Gale Search Tips: General Tips