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Database Search Tips

Database Search Tips

Combining Keywords

AND

Use AND to combine terms that describe contrasting concepts within your search topic. AND requires that all terms be included in the items returned and therefore
NARROWS search results.

In most databases, including the Academic Search Complete database shown here, the search tools are easy to access

 

 

SEARCH STATEMENT:
music AND infant

OR

Use OR to combine synonyms for a concept important to your search.  OR will include database records that include either or both of the terms and therefore EXPANDS
search results.

 

SEARCH STATEMENT: 
music OR symphony

venn diagram

AND and OR and PARENTHESES ( )

Use parentheses around terms that are synonyms connected  using OR, particularly when using more than one Boolean operator in the same search statement. Terms in parentheses will be processed first by the computer.  Using parentheses ensures that you control which terms are processed as synonyms.

 

SEARCH STATEMENT:
(music OR symphony) AND (brain OR cognitive)

Phrase Searching

Use quotation marks around terms ensures that the database
will find those terms together as a phrase. This will increase the relevance of the records retrieved and should reduce the number of records to review.

 

Examples:

"cognitive development"

"service animals"

"academic advising"

NOT

Use NOT very selectively.  NOT will exclude records that have the term specified.  If over-used the NOT operator can exclude materials that you wish to see.

 

SEARCH STATEMENT:
(baby OR infant) NOT toddler

This will exclude all records that use the term toddler, whether or not that record also mentions baby or infant or both terms.

Truncation

Using a truncation symbol, commonly but not always the asterisk ( * ), allows different forms of the same word to be included in the search results.

Examples:

music*

Will include music, musical, musician in results.

Do not truncate too early in the word

mus*

will retrieve all the words listed above, but also muscle, museum, mushroom, and so forth

If the asterisk symbol does not appear to be working, check the database online help to verify what symbol is used.