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Graduate Student Library Resources and Services: Databases

Not sure where to start? Try these:

Database searching tips

In general, these tips work for most databases. Always check out the "Help" menus to see all of the helpful search tips to give you the most accurate results.

AND- Narrows down the search

  • example: environment AND policy AND carbon

OR- Broadens your search

  • example: "climate change" OR "Global Warming"

NOT- Excludes terms from results (use with caution)

  • example: "greenhouse gas" NOT carbon

Truncation * - Allows you to search for variations on a term

  • example: ecolog* returns ecologist, ecology, ecological, etc.

Wildcard ? - Allows you to search for alternate spellings within words

  • example: colo?r will find color or colour

Tilde ~ - Proximity search which returns results within a specified range of words

  • example: "ecology economics" ~8 returns results that have those 2 words separated by no more than 8 words. 

Stemming # - Finds variations of a word,

  • example: went# finds went, go, and going

Quotes " "- Results have the exact phrase as entered

  • example: "Energy return on investment"

Parenthesis ( )- Allows you to combine many or these search strategies in a single search box

  • ("greenhouse gas*" or "global warming") and carbon

There are many more great tips in database help screens.