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Search effectively

Database searching tips




1. Truncation

This will broaden your search to include various word endings by adding a truncation symbol to the root of a word.

If you type genetic into a search engine like Google, you will probably find pages that mention genetic, genetics, genetically etc. However when you type genetic into an academic database, you will literally only find the word genetic. That is why truncation is such a useful tip.

The asterisk(*) is most common, but truncation symbols can vary from database to database.

For Example:
genetic* will find genetic, genetics, genetically

2. Wildcards

Wildcards allow you to search for different spellings of a word in the one search by placing a symbol in place of the letter that creates the different spelling of a word. It will then provide you with search results that include both variations of the searched for word.

The question mark (?) is most common, but wildcard symbols can vary from database to database.

For Example:

behavio?r will find behaviour and behavior

3. Phrase Searching

Place quotation marks around two or more words to retrieve results that contain the words side by side rather than separately.

For Example:
"pain management" will find these two words together in this exact order

Watch the video below to see the difference in results between space tourism and "space tourism":