These searches are a bit more complex but can save you time once you have mastered the technique.
This is a complex search that uses parentheses and Boolean connectors to group together search terms. In effect, you are doing several searches at once. For example, this search
(teenagers OR minors) AND (drinking OR alcohol)
will retrieve results for one or more of these combinations:
teenagers and drinking
teenagers and alcohol
minors and drinking
minors and alcohol
WILDCARDS AND TRUNCATION
Both of these techniques use symbols in place of letters, allowing you to search for multiple forms of a word.
Truncation uses a symbol, often an asterisk, after the stem (trunk) of a word. For example
psychol* will search for psychology, psychologist, psychologists, psychological
Wildcards replace a single letter
The boxes below will tell you the basics of identifying keywords, as well as techniques for combining them efficiently and effectively More information on all of these is found in Module Two of the full BUILD IT Tutorial.
A keyword is any significant word or phrase that describes your topic.
To identify keywords, write a topic statement that sums up the subject and focus of your paper in a sentence or two. It may be a statement or question.. For each keyword, list synonyms and related words. See box to right for an example.
The words in red are keywords. Related words are listed for each.. Combine these in various ways to set up your search.
Identifying keywords is only the first step to effective searching. The secret to finding information efficiently is in the way you combine keywords when searching. Most databases allow you to search using Boolean Logic. see box to right for more details.
Boolean Logic refers to the logical relationship between search terms, and uses these three operators, or connectors:
These connectors link together two or more terms to either narrow or broaden your search.
The following Venn diagrams demonstrate how these connectors work to control your search.
Only the resuts represented by the darker purple will be retrieved.
Any number of terms can be connected using Boolean operators.
Most database advanced search screen are already set up to connect search terms in this way.