Module 2: Search Strategies
When you do a subject search in the library catalog or a database you are searching the subject headings field. Subject headings are special descriptive terms assigned to material, often called "controlled vocabulary", that allow for consistency of terms across databases. Results from a subject search will be more precise than from a keyword search.
Characteristics of subject searching:
- Less flexible - you need to know the standard term in order to find sources
- Searches only the subject headings field
- For general subjects, some databases allow you to refine the search by using subheadings or related headings
- Reduces amount of irrelevant results
Once you know the subject heading for your topic, everything about that topic should be listed under the same subject heading.
For example, this article would only be retrieved in a subject search if you typed one or more of the subject terms given: