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Law Enforcement: Search Strategies

Finding Articles

Where to begin?

  • Search library databases:  Northwestern has access to millions of articles not available through Google
  • Use keyword searching effectively
  • Limit your search to fit the parameters of your topic
  • Evaluate the types of resources available
  • If full text is not available through a database obtain articles using FindIt button and Interlibrary Loan

Videos on Research Basics

We've got even more quick videos which can get you started on your research project.

Search Strategies

Keyword Searching The default for the library catalog and most databases is a keyword search. This searches the cataloged fields of a record (generally including title, author, subject headings, description, and abstract, if applicable). 

By selecting Advanced Search, you can be more specific with what you are looking for: if you have a title, author, or subject in mind, you can search just those fields, as well as narrow down your search by date or material type at the beginning of your search.

Think of related terms to expand your search. For example, for a project on police scheduling, you may include any of the following keywords: scheduling, hours, schedules, work, shifts, shift work.

Search Tips

Phrase Searching adding quotes to your phrase will search for an exact combination of words: "Emergency Preparedness" or "Law and Order"


Truncation To truncate means to cut off a part, or to chop short.

When we truncate a word in a search, it allows the database to search for words with multiple endings and get additional results.

Subject Headings

Subject headings 

Under the Details tab in the catalog, you'll see information including title, author, creation date, and subject headings. Subject headings are assigned to books, and other library materials to connect like resources.

Once you have found one resource that could be useful, check out the subject headings it's been assigned. Clicking on these subject headings can link you to additional relevant sources of information.