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MPA 620: Research Methods for Public Administration

Professor Katherine Lorenz

Remote Access

  • Alternately, you can log into each database as you encounter it with your portal user name (your initials plus 5 or 6 digits) and your portal password.



Search Tips

To get more results, broaden your search.

  • Use fewer search terms. Look for words not unique to your topic that you could cut from your search string.
  • OR Use OR to link synonyms, so you get articles where the authors used other terms to describe the same concept. 
    • (city OR municipal)
  • Use an asterisk to find articles using any of the variants of the same root word.
    • administrat* = administration, administrative, administrator, administrations
  • Use more inclusive search terms.
    • Bigger locations - too few results from los angeles, try california
    • More general terms - too few results from zoning, try planning
  • Search as many possible sources at once by using Google Scholar.

To get fewer results, narrow your search.

  • " " Use quotation marks to find exact phrases, when you need words next to each other in precise sequence to have the meaning you intend.
    • "public sector"
    • "water rights"
  • Add more concepts to your search. Consider the who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  • Use narrower, more specific concepts or aspects of your original topic.
    • assessment => benchmarking
  • Search fewer sources, one top journal at a time.


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