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Build search strategy

Learning outcomes

  • Understand how to combine keywords and use database commands to build a search strategy

AND

Example:

hospitality AND management

Returns publications that mention all of the terms

Caution: will give fewer results

OR

Example:

hotel OR lodging

Returns publications that mention any of the terms

Caution: will increase results

NOT

Example:

hospitality NOT restaurant

Excludes publications that mention the term

Caution: may exclude relevant publications

Place quote marks ” “ around the phrase to ensure only the words in the phrase are searched in the intended order

  • Example: community forest management
  • Example: coronary disease

Caution: don’t use full sentences within quote marks, i.e. “the effects of pest disease on banana plantations”

Replace the end of the word with * (or ? depending on the database)

  • Example: therapwill retrieve therapy, therapies, therapeutic etc

Caution: don’t use the symbol too early, e.g. photo* will bring back photons, photography and photosynthesis

Use the hashtag # or ? symbol to search for variations of the spelling of a word

  • Example: colo#r will retreive either colour or color
  • Example: organi?ation will retrieve either organisation or organization

Caution: # only used in the Ebschost database and ? is used in the Proquest database

The WithinW” operator finds terms in the order in which they are entered

  • Example: education W5 “special needs”
    Finds the word education within 5 words before “special needs”

The Near N” operator finds terms nearby in any order

  • Example: education N5 “special needs”
    Finds the word education within 5 words before or after “special needs”

Different databases prioritise the order in which they ‘read’ Boolean Operators. It is best to use parentheses i.e. () to structure your search

  • Example: depression AND (teenager OR teen OR adolescent OR youth OR “young adult”)

The terms and operations that occur inside the parentheses will be searched first, therefore will find documents that contain one of the words in brackets but only if they also contain the word ‘depression’

Activity

Fundamentals of searching