Skip to main content

Media Home: Online Resources

Searching Databases Using Keywords

Database Search Tips

Database Search Tips

Search by Subject:   is the most precise way to search article databases. Database looks for subjects only in the subject heading or descriptor field, where the most relevant words appear

Search by Keyword: is how you typically search web search engines.  Think of important words or phrases and type them in to get results.

Advanced Search Options:

Boolean operators:

  • They connect your search words together to either narrow or broaden your set of results.
  • The three basic boolean operators are: ANDOR, and NOT.

Use AND in a search to:

  • narrow your results
  • tell the database that ALL search terms must be present in the resulting records

Use OR in a search to:

  • connect two or more similar concepts (synonyms)
  • broaden your results, telling the database that ANY of your search terms can be present in the resulting records

Use NOT in a search to:

  • exclude words from your search
  • narrow your search, telling the database to ignore concepts that may be implied by your search terms

Stop Words:

Stop words are frequently occurring, insignificant words that appear in a database record, article or web page.

Common stop words include: a, an, the, in, of, on, are

Truncation: broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings.

  • To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end. Usually ans asterisks
  • The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.
  • Examples: 
    child* = child, childs, children, childrens, childhood