Skills Hub

Database search tips

Phrase searching

Most academic databases automatically put a Boolean AND between your search terms if you don't use a connector.

This means that the words you search will be present in your search results, but they may not be next to each other. This will have an effect on the number and relevancy of your search results.

If you have two or more words that you want to find next to one another you can easily search for them by placing them in double quotation marks.

For example:

"family crisis"
"European union"


Searching multiple iterations of the same word at once

Truncation, also called stem searching, is a technique that broadens your search to search various iterations of a word at once, by searching the root word followed by the truncation symbol *.

The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.


For example:

searching the root word: child*
finds: child, childs, children, childrens, childhood

Truncation symbols may vary by database; common symbols include: *, !, ?, or #

To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end.

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