Most databases and search engines include a number of advanced search options.
This page covers the most commonly used options, including:
Use quotations marks to indicate a phrase. When applied it means that exact phrase must appear somewhere in the records retrieved in tghe database.
Many databases offer options to search for using only part of the word, called Truncation. The first two options (using the wildcards * and ?) are the most common.
Example: therap* retrieves:
therapy, therapies, therapeutic, therapist, therapists
Note: Wildcard options generally may not be used inside a phrase search (e.g. "child* therapy" is not an acceptable search, but child* AND therapy is).
All databases use some form of Field Codes. These codes allow you to search individual parts of the citation and to limit your search to specific terms. Look under the Advanced Search or for drop-down menus to find these search terms.
Proximity Indicators are used by some databases to allow searches to find two concepts that are close together or next to each other.
Stop words (or stopwords) are terms that are ignored by the search strategy. The search engine literally stops looking at the word and goes onto the next word or phrase.
Be aware some databases (e.g. PubMed) will ignore a quoted phrase if it contains a "stop word" for that database (e.g. of, the, in, etc.).
EXACT: Used to focus a search on a specific phrase or term, generally in a specific field; also .e
Hyphen (-): Used to indicate a range; generally only used when searching numerical fields (e.g. publication dates).
LNK: Link: Used to link two terms together
SAME: The keywords must be in the same field (e.g. title, address, etc.)