Skip to Main Content
Online Library
NAU Logo

Construction Management Guide

Resources for construction management courses

Basic Search Tips

Unlike Google, library databases can't understand an entire sentence. So you'll need to break your topic down into the most important ideas - the KEYWORDS.

Example Topic: How do firms apply construction safety on a job site?

The specifics of your topic will matter when selecting sources, but for searching you only need the most essential components.

Keywords: Construction Safety, Job Site

How do firms apply Construction Safety on a Job Site?  


Tutorial - Finding Keywords

If you find you need to practice choosing keywords, try the Finding Keywords tutorial.


Most words have synonyms that mean the same, or very similar, things. For each keyword in your topic, try to come up with at least one synonym. Not all keywords will have synonyms, but many do!


           Keyword:      Construction Safety                             Synonym:  Hazards


Keep an Eye Out
Sometimes scholars use terms that you might not be familiar with, or which might mean something very specific within the discipline. While searching, look for unfamiliar terms or words that show up a lot. Try searching for those and see if you find more relevant sources.
Most library databases have search tools built in. Try some of these: 
  • Subject: Think of subjects as official hashtags. Use them to find sources about that subject.
  • Date Range: Limit your search to sources published between specific years.
  • Peer Reviewed: Limit your search to scholarly journal articles.
  • Full Text: Make sure all of the results are available to read in full.
Look on the left and right of your search results, or for an "advanced search" page to find these tools - and more!

You can evaluate any source using the 5 W's:

  • Who: ...wrote it? Are they an expert?
  • What: the purpose of this resource?
  • Where: ...was this information published? ...does the information come from?
  • When: ...was this published or last updated?
  • Why: this resource useful? this resource better than other ones?

Advanced Search Tips

Use the operator AND to find only sources that mention both keywords.

Construction Safety AND Job Site

This search will bring back fewer results than searching either keyword on its own.



Use the OR operator to expand your search with additional keywords.

Construction Safety OR Job Site Hazards

This will find sources that include either word, so you'll see more results than by searching for just one keyword.


Use the “QUOTES” strategy to search for several words in a phrase.

" Construction Safety"

This will bring back results that only use that exact phrase                     


Global site tag: