Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Search for an Exact Phrase

Have you ever tried to find articles on a topic that consists of more than one word, only to get thousands of irrelevant hits? Whenever you are using a search phrase (i.e., containing more than one word, e.g. teen pregnancy, or United States Senator), try putting quotations around it like this when searching:

"teen pregnancy"
"United States Senator"

This will force the search engine or research database to only return results with those exact words together and in the order you placed them, thus making your results more targeted and relevant to your topic.

Note that most databases will also let you combine other words with a phrase if needed:

"Oil for food programme" OR "Saddam Hussein"
"Lee Harvey Oswald" AND (Cuba or Castro)

For more help searching:
Using Boolean Operators in Research Databases (print version)

No comments: