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Online Research: Tips for Effective Search Stratgies

Library Database Search Options

Boolean Logic
Link words together with AND, OR, NOT.

AND - narrows a search (e.g. global warming AND United States)

OR - broadens a search (e.g. global warming AND United States OR Canada)

Best to use with synonyms, slang, or related words.

NOT - limits a search (e.g. global warming AND United States NOT Alaska)

Phrase Searching - Place a phrase between quote marks ("") (e.g. "global warming" AND United States)

Truncation - Use an asterisk (*) at the end of the root of a word to retrieve all variations of the word (e.geducatat* will search for educate, educators, education, educates, ...)

Wildcard - Use a question mark (?) to replace one character in a word (e.gwomom?n will search for woman and women)

Limiters - Focus your results by limiting to full text, publication types (e.g. magazines), document type (e.g. article), language, publication date, and more

Articles in Scholarly Journals - Check the limit results box for "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals", "Peer reviewed", or "Scholarly journals" when you search.

Empirical Articles - Limit results to scholarly journals and add the terms "Study" and/or "Studies" to search.

Search Engine Options

AND - the default or use a plus sign (+) (or AND in Bing) in front of a word to include it (e.g. Taming +of +the Shrew)

NOT - use a minus sign (-) (or NOT in Bing) to exclude a word (e.g. will remove commercial websites; Taming +of +the Shrew

Phrase Searching - most helpful when searching the Internet by retrieving more relevant results (e.g. "Taming of the Shrew")

Search engines remove common or stop words such as THE, A, OF, IN, ON, etc. from your search. If you need to include a stop word, use phrase searching or use the plus sign (+) in front of the word. (e.g. "Taming of the Shrew" or Taming +of +the Shrew)

Search Titles of Web Sites - Use intitle: followed by words you want in the title (e.gintitlele:"Taming of the Shrew")

Search for a File Type - use filetype: followed by the file type extension (e.g. "global warming filetype:PDF)

Search a Specific Website - use site: followed by the domain name (e.g. graduation

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