Today I'd like to share with you my top tip for database/google searching, based on my own experience and on what we've learnt from Alastair Allan in the past 2 weeks.
This may seem obvious to people with much experience using databases but I think it is still worth mentioning - make use of advanced search functions! Don't just type in whatever your query is into the first search box you see - always use 'advanced search' if it is available. You're not missing out on anything by using Advanced, and you may find much more (and more importantly, you stand a better chance of finding useful information). Advanced Search gives you a lot more options - for example (depending on the database you're using), it may have options to search only for certain types of information (journal articles, e-book chapters, etc); search in article title, abstract or full text; or search between certain dates only - and most databases 'advanced search' will include multiple text boxes seperated by boolean operators (AND/OR/NOT) making it easier to construct a good query. Most databases will give you a chance to 'refine' or 'edit' your search after your initial attempt - at this point you can start experimenting with different query terms - but always start from Advanced.
So to summarise - always use 'Advanced Search' in databases - you have nothing to lose by doing so!