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Foundations of Music Education: Searching: Troubleshooting

TROUBLE SHOOTING

 

Here are common problems encountered when searching, possible causes, and suggested solutions.  They range from minor adjustments to reimagining your topic.  It's best to try small changes first.

PROBLEM: Too Many Results

PROBLEM: TOO MANY RESULTS
Possible causes: Possible Solutions:
Search is too broad
  • Use narrower terms
  • Add more terms
  • Add limiters
  • Add quotations to phrase
Tool too broad
  • Use narrower tool
Topic addressed to death
  • See number #4
Topic is too broad
  • See number #4

PROBLEM: Not Enough Results

PROBLEM: NOT ENOUGH RESULTS
Possible Causes: Possible solutions:
Search too narrow
  • Broader search terms
  • Use fewer terms
  • Don’t search in phrases or sentences
  • Add wildcard/truncation
Too many limiters
  • Fewer limiters
Tool too narrow
  • Expand search – broader tools
Topic too granular, too current, or entirely unexplored, or unanswerable
  • See number #4

PROBLEM: Irrelevant Results

PROBLEM: RESULTS ARE IRRELEVANT
Possible causes: Possible solutions:
Incorrect or non-standard terminology
  • Look at source for terminology; make sure you are using most up to date, vetted terminology of for your topic (look at other articles that you think are good, read about in Wikipedia)
Terms have multiple meanings
  • If terms have multiple meanings, explore synonyms or phrase searching to reduce number of irrelevant results
Searching in too broad or in appropriate place for what you are looking for
  • See if this is the most appropriate database