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English 102: Notes from the Underground: Basics of Searching

This course guide was created specifically for Matthew Sheehan's Spring 2019 English 102 Classes

Database Search Tips

Database Search Tips (MIT Libraries)

A concise library guide to what you need to know about searching a database before you begin your research. Published by the MIT Libraries.

Wildcards and Truncation

Wildcards and Truncation

Wildcards and Truncation are useful tools for expanding a search to include multiple spellings or various endings to search terms. Use them carefully. Expanding a search could generate more results than can be easily dealt with. Before using these symbols, check with the database. Some sources have different rules regarding the use of these symbols.

Using Wildcards and Truncation
A brief guide to the Wildcard and Truncation symbols used in the EBSCOHost Databases
Searching - QuickSearch Help
An overview of how to search QuickSearch, including the use of  Wildcards and Truncation

Phrase Searching, Truncation & Wildcards

Boolean Operators

Introduction to Boolean Operators

The most commonly used Boolean Operators in Database searching are AND, OR, NOT.

AND is used when you have two or more required search terms. This function is a limiter in that it only produces those sources that contain all of the required search terms, eliminating those that only contain one.

OR is used when you have multiple search terms and you want all sources that contain at least one of these terms. This function is an expander, it creates a search result much larger than using just one term alone would produce. 

NOT is also a limiter, in a different way than already mentioned. This function is added to a search result in order to eliminate sources that contain a specific term. It is used to focus the results of a large search by removing unwanted results. 

How Library Stuff Works: Boolean Operators (AND OR NOT)

How Library Stuff Works: Boolean Operators (AND OR NOT) (McMaster University Library)
A video guide to using Boolean Operators for database searching.

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