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Karlstads universitetsbibliotek - ämnesguider

Media and Communication Studies

The basics of information retrieval

We have gathered the most important things you need to know about searching and managing information sources. 

To succeed in your information retrieval you will need to:

  • Think carefully about the issue and keywords
  • Have a strategy for how and where to search
  • Think creatively, there may be many different strategies
  • Find a relevant article or book.  It can be a great start, and lead to many more sources!
  • Remember source criticism: who has written what and why?

If you need help with your informations seeking, please don´t hesitate to contact the reference desk in the library! 
Good luck with your studies and we are here at the library to help you!

Animated movie about searching for scientific information (from NSCU Libraries, 2.08 min).

Combining search words


AND - you will get references wich contains both of your search terms
OR - you will get references wich contain one of or both of your search terms
NOT - You will get references without your search term

Useful tips

You can make use of a character (usually *), to capture various endings of a word. For example media* gives you hits that contain the words media, mediated, mediator etc.

Frase searching
If you want to search for a term that consists of several words, it is important to make use of quotes. "Qualitative Methods" provides you with matches where the words qualitative and method are standing next to each other in the text.

How to find good search terms

Formulate your question as precisely as possible

  • What is the most important?
  • What pages / features are you interested in?

Finding Keywords

  • Based from your research problem/query carefully choose your keywords and concepts. there are several ways you can get helt in the databases in this process.
  • Pick as meaningful words as possible.
  • When you have found an interesting article - which subject headings have been used, maybe you can get valuable information from them?
  • Which subject headings are being used in the database? Is there a thesaurus with a controlled vocabulary you can use?