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Information Literacy Resources: Find

This guide was created using the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Standards on Information Literacy (IL) to help you to understand the concept of information literacy. This, in an effort to improve teaching and learning at the UWI.

Library Resources


UWIlinC is the e-information portal for The UWI Libraries allowing search and discovery from a single interface. It brings UWI's subscribed resources, unique Caribbean resources and the intellectual output from the four UWI campuses to its users locally, regionally and internationally.

GUIDE: UWIlinc Help


Exam Past papers

The material on this website is protected by Copyright Act (No 8 of 1997, Amended by 18 of 2000, 5 of 2008) of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Papers are arranged by course code and title, year and semester.

Standard 2

The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.

How do I...

... develop a search strategy?

Prior to starting your search in any database, it is important to spend some time planning your search strategy. This planning helps to define your search topic clearly. It also helps to minimize the time spent searching the database for research articles on your topic. How a search is constructed can determine what is retrieved and what is not retrieved.

QUESTION: Why do poor countries suffer from the effects of globalisation?

Possible Search Strategy

Step One: Identify keywords

  • Be as concise and specific as possible.
  • Look at your research topic/question and select the main concepts [poor countries, suffer, globalisation]
  • Think about synonyms, different spellings (z or s) and acronyms

[Developing countries, Least developed countries, LDCs, poverty, economic hardship, human development, globalization, globalisation]

Step Two: Combine Search Synonyms with OR

  • Combine your various search terms to retrieve records about your specific research question.
  • Each search term results in a search set.

Search terms belonging to the same concept (i.e. synonyms) are combined with the operator "OR". The "OR" operator retrieves records which contain any, all, or a combination of the search terms within that concept. Each time you add a new search term in your Concept, and combine with OR you retrieve more records. The resulting set of search synonyms combined with OR includes the entire area of each circle as well as the area where each circle overlaps.

The following diagram illustrates how OR works.

The light sections and where all three of the Search Concept overlap represents the articles which specifically discuss:

  • LDCs or Globalisation
  • LDCs or Human Development
  • Human Development or Globalisation

Step Three: Combine Search Concepts with AND
You now need to combine your Search Concepts with AND to retrieve records which discuss your research question specifically. AND retrieves records which include only records in which all of the Search Concepts appear. Each time you add a new Search Concept, and combine with AND you retrieve fewer records. The resulting set of Search Concepts combined with AND includes only the area where each circle overlaps.

The following diagram illustrates how AND works.

The darkly coloured section where all the Search Concepts overlap represents the articles which specifically discuss:

  • LDCs and Globalisation
  • LDCs and Human Development
  • Human Development and Globalisation

Step Four: Enter the Search Strategy into the Database
Once you have completed your search strategy, you are ready to proceed to actually searching the electronic database. Always enter each search term separately. First, combine each search synonym within the same Search Concept with OR. Next combine Search Concept Sets with AND.

Type your search statement in the box and click on "search". The system will carry out the search and return whatever records or items contain the words you used in the combination you specified. Review the "hits" to determine how relevant they are to your question or topic. If you are unsatisfied with the results you may need to begin again using different keywords or combining them differently.

Step Five: Repeat the process

Modify the search terms, choose different keywords and/or try the search in a different database.

Developing your search strategy

Step One: Formulate your research topic into concise terms.

Step Two: Brainstorm synonyms or related search words

Step Three: Combine Search Synonyms with OR / AND

Step Four: Proceed to the electronic database. Type your search statement in the box and click on "search"

Step Five: Repeat the process