This set of pages (see left sidebar) is designed to explain and demonstrate some basic techniques that will help you improve your searching techniques—not only for academic research projects, but also for any kind of online search you may do. Start with the brief descriptions and examples below, then explore the other pages. Each page features explanations and examples, with clickable links, which illustrate the principles being discussed.

Using AND and OR in Searches

The words AND and OR (sometimes called Boolean connectors) can be used to group sets of search terms, which will greatly improve the quality of your search results. More information on using AND and OR in searches…

Phrase Searching

Searching for two or more words as an exact phrase, by enclosing with words inside quotation marks. More information on phrase searching…

Word Roots

Also called a Wild Card Search or Truncated Search, this means removing the suffix of a word and replacing it with the wildcard character, usually an asterisk. More information on word roots…

Search Limiters

Also called Filters, these let you better focus your results by characteristics such as language, date, format, etc. More information on search limiters…

Fields

Searching for only specific bits of information such as an author’s name, journal title, etc. More information on fields…

Subject Searching

Using search terms that have been devised by the creators of a database to aid searching. Sometimes these terms are called Descriptors; they are similar to Tags that are used in many social media. More information on subject searching…