You can narrow your search results by adding more keywords or by utilizing different search techniques. This includes Boolean operators AND and NOT, Near searching, Truncation/Wildcard, Phrases, and Limiters/Filters.
You can expand your search results using fewer keywords and using the Boolean operator OR.
Conjunction words used to combine or exclude keywords in a search (AND, OR, NOT). You can also include parentheses to specify the order in which they are interpreted.
Example Search: ("Hunger games" AND (Women OR Gender)) NOT Book
NOTE: AND is assumed by default in Google. OR works to expand your search in Google, but use - (the minus sign) instead of NOT.
Specifies how close words appear near each other in a text. This strategy improves the conceptual relationships between search terms. With EBSCO databases, use the operator “N” plus a number to specify the distance between words.
In JSTOR, use the ~ to perform a proximity search, like this: games women~5. Or, use advanced search. Note that you cannot perform a proximity search using phrases, only single words.
You can use this strategy to create searches with unknown characters, multiple spelling, or various endings. An asterisk (*) can replace multiple character or endings, while a question mark (?) replaces just one character.
Truncation Example: Feminis* searches Feminism and Feminist
Wildcard Example: Wom?n searches women and woman
To search multiple words as an exact phrase, use double quotation marks.
Example: “Hunger Games”
Most databases allow you to narrow your search results according to certain criteria.
Example in Academic Search Ultimate:
You can use these techniques right in the Google (or most other search providers) search box:
OR between related words or synonyms, e.g. women OR gender
- to exclude words, e.g. the search Hunger games -book would return results that don't include the word book. This is great for excluding irrelevant results
site:[website], e.g. site:wabash.edu would search the entire Wabash website. Also useful to search only .edu or .gov sites
Information gaps exist. You might not find articles that cover all of your identified concepts.
Try broadening your search:
Still stuck? Ask us for help!