A keyword search is a great way to start your search.
Narrow or broaden your keyword search by using search strategies such as:
Using Phrase Searching
When do you use it? When you want specific words to appear together.
How do you do it? Put quotation marks around the phrase to be searched.
Example: "women in advertising"
When do you use them? Use synonyms to broaden or narrow your search.
- "women in advertising"
- "females in advertising"
These searches would give you different results.
What do you use connectors (also called Boolean operators) for?
To broaden or narrow your search by linking together two or more terms.
The most common connectors are: AND, OR, and NOT.
AND narrows a search; you get fewer results because both words must be present in the records found.
Use AND to combine different concepts in one search:
computer AND history
OR broadens a search; you get more results because OR looks for each of the words separately, as well as all words when found together.
OR is often used to link together related words.
Example: teenager OR youth OR adolescent
NOT narrows your search; you get fewer results becuase it excludes terms from your search.
Example: pluto NOT disney
Nesting keeps concepts that are alike together, and tells a search engine to search the terms in the parentheses first.
Use parentheses to group concepts when you use two or more connectors.
Example: alcohol AND (adolescents OR teenagers)
This search will retrieve records on alcohol and adolescents, as well as records on alcohol and teenagers.
Truncation characters are like wildcards.
Adding a truncation character to the stem of a word will tell the search engine to find that stem plus anything that comes after it.
Example: child* will return records that contain child
This saves you time when searching, since you don't have to search for child, childhood, and children separately.
You can sometimes use truncation in the middle of a word, too.
Example: wom*n or wom$n will return records that contain women and woman
The symbol used to truncate a word depends upon the search tool you are using. Check out the help feature of the specific tool to find out if truncation is supported and what symbol to use.