This is the "Search Strategies" page of the "Search Techniques" guide.
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Search Techniques   Tags: boolean, database_thesaurus, how-to, keywords, subject_headings  

Techniques to help you identify, develop, and locate relevant resources on your research topic
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2014 URL: http://libguides.ben.edu/SearchTechniques Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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General Search Strategies

The easiest way to search for information electronically is to enter a couple of keywords into the search box of the resource and see what type of results you get. This strategy, however, will often result in too few, too many, or irrelevant results.

In order to retrieve the most relevant results, you will need to construct a search string.  A search string is a combination of keywords, truncation symbols, and boolean operators you enter into the search box of an electronic library resource or an Internet search engine.

 

Truncation/Wildcard Symbols

Truncation Icon

Truncation or wildcard symbols can broaden your search and allow you to look for variations of words. For example, searching on sport* would bring up variations such as sport, sports, sporting, sporty, etc. 

Note: The truncation symbol varies depending on the electronic resource you are searching. For more information, consult the database’s “help” or “search tips” pages.

 

Tip!

Are you finding too much information or perhaps not finding enough? Use alternative, narrower, or broader keywords to vary your results.

An Excellent Tutorial

Boolean

Computer search mechanisms are based on Boolean logic, so the better you understand how it works, the better search results you will obtain!

 

Boolean Operators

Boolean searching is the traditional way to search for information in most online databases and on the Internet. Boolean operators or connector words, such as AND, OR, and NOT, are used to create phrases and concepts based on specific rules of search logic.  

Operator Examples Results
AND


business AND ethics
cooking AND Spain

Retrieves records that contain    
ALL of the search terms.
OR


hotels OR motels
www OR world wide web
theater OR theatre

Retrieves records that contain
ANY of the search terms, but
does not necessarily include
all of them.
NOT


java NOT coffee
Clinton NOT (William OR Bill)    

Excludes records containing
the second search term.
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