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Mathematics: Search Strategies

Getting started with library research

Use OneSearch to start your search: find books, articles, videos, and journals on your topic as well as get a sense of the range of topics within your search. 

Your next step may be to find more (and more specific) journal articles using one of the library's  subscription databases. This guide also has lists of recommended databases for your research. One advantage of an article database is that you can create searches that will help you find articles that more closely fit your research needs.

Single word searching and filters

To get started with a search, type your topic into the search field and press enter. For example, type math into OneSearch. Make a note of how many results you get. This number can be found at the top of the results list.

You may have thousands of results from your search.

To get more relevant results, take a look at the filters located to the left of the search results.

  • Scroll down until you see Subjects listed in the filters.
  • Click on the down arrow and select one of the topics listed.

You can select additional filters until you have a more manageable list of titles to select from.

Now try a search on a topic of your choosing: some idea are on the list on this page. 

Boolean searching: Using AND and OR

To get even more relevant results, use AND and OR to build your searches.

Many databases make using these terms easier by having multiple search boxes that use AND to connect them, which will narrow your results. Use OR inside the search boxes to group similar terms, which may broaden your results.

Combine AND and OR in your searches to help you find more, and more relevant, results.

You can also create your search all in one line: (statistics or probability) and history

Example Search Terms for Mathematics

  • Algebra
  • Applied mathematics
  • Calculus
  • Equation or Equations
  • Fractals or Fractal
  • Functional analysis
  • Geometry
  • Knot theory
  • Mathematic* AND history (searches mathematic, mathematics, mathematical, mathematician/s, linked to history)
  • Mathematical logic
  • Mathematical optimization
  • Mathematical programming
  • Mathematician* AND biograph* (this search finds biographies of mathematicians)
  • Number* AND mathematic*
  • Polynomials
  • Probabilities
  • Pure mathematics
  • Statics
  • Statistics or Mathematical statistics
  • Stochastic*
  • Topology
  • Trigonometry