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Cluster Tips (Searching Techniques)

Searching by Keyword

You can search for a cluster by keywords (e.g. mind, earth, religion). This technique works best when you are searching in all departments, but if you get a lot of hits, you may want to narrow your search area to one division or one department.

Understanding how a keyword search works is the key to effective keyword searches. The Cluster Search Engine considers keywords to be strings of characters. The search engine finds a string of characters wherever it appears in a cluster entry: the title, cluster number, description, division, department, or the list of requirements. The search engine will look for the string of characters either by itself or as part of a longer word.

You will get more hits if your keyword is shorter. Use novel instead of novels and politic instead of politics or political.

If you seem to be getting too many unrelated hits, try putting a space before and/or after your character string to reduce irrelevant hits. If you search for art, the search will show you any cluster with the character string art in it. That will include clusters about art as well as clusters about the earth. Searching for (spacebar)art or art(spacebar) should eliminate that problem.

Searching by Course

You can search for clusters that contain particular courses by entering a course number (e.g. MTH 161 or BCS 110). This technique works best when you are searching in all departments.

If you get no matches for your entry, the course may be cross-listed. Try searching again under the parent department. The parent department is generally the same as the professor's affiliation.

For example, a cross listed PSC/ECO course taught by a political science professor will be listed in the Cluster Search Engine as PSC XXX. A search for ECO XXX will not turn up any matches.

To determine the parent department, enter a course number in the Course Descriptions/Course Schedule. You will see the cross-listed courses. The course with (P) next to it is the parent.

Searching by Department or Division

You can search for clusters by department, program, or division by using the pull-down menu. This is a powerful tool to use in combination with a keyword or course search. However, the two parts of the search have to fit together or the search will not work. For example, a request for English clusters that contain math courses will yield no matches.

Cluster Search Engine