Narrow your search
Use the word AND (in capital letters) to narrow your search by combining search terms.
Example: bison AND vaccination
Expand your search
Use the word OR (in capital letters) to expand your search. This is particularly useful when your search term has one or more synonyms.
Example: teenager OR adolescent
Search for a phrase
Use “quotes” to tell a database that you want to search for a phrase instead of the individual search terms.
Exclude a term from your search
Use the word NOT (in capital letters) to exclude a term from your search results.
Example: “higher education” NOT “community college”
Search for alternate word endings
Use an asterisk * at the end of a word to get the database to search for alternative word endings.
politic* searches for politic, politics, political, politically
embry* searches for embryo, embryos, embryonic
text* searches for text, texts, texted, texting
Use parentheses to group terms
Use (parentheses) to create more complex search strings. Parentheses group terms together.
education AND (teenager OR adolescent)
(jaguars AND speed) NOT (cars OR automobiles)
Mix it up!
With these basic commands, there are many possibilities. If you are not getting search results, you may have made your search too specific or need to revise your search terms. Here are some further examples of mixing and matching commands to get better results.
text* AND “drunk driving”
(football NOT soccer) AND equipment
acid* AND (ocean OR sea) AND temperature