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Search Strategies - Best Practices

Truncation, Wildcards, & Quotation Marks

Truncation: Also called Stemming. By truncating, a database will return results that include all variations of a word based on its root. Truncation broadens your search.

Structure

Actual Search

 

Child*

Child

Childs

Children

Childrens

Childhood

Note: Some databases utilize different truncation symbols. Always check a database’s HELP section for more information.


Wildcards: Similar to truncation, but replace only one letter and can be used within a word to account for variations in spelling. This technique broadens your search.

Structure

Actual Search

Wom!n

Woman

Women

Colo?r

Color

Colour

Note: Some databases utilize different wildcard symbols. Always check a database’s HELP section for more information.


Quotation Marks: Create a precise phrase using quotation marks. This technique narrows your search. Use this for common phrases.

Less Precise

More Precise

Global AND Warming

“Global Warming”

Note: Most databases recognize quotation marks, but some do not. Pay attention to bolded terms in a result list to determine whether the database found the phrase or searched by individual keyword.