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Searching for Articles: 3. Creating a Great Search

Search Strings

To retrieve the most relevant search 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 a library database or search engine



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When you create a search string, there are things to remember!

  • Always use parentheses around your search words to "preserve the logic" of your string. 

Example: (Jelly OR Jam) AND peanut butter =/= Jelly OR (Jam AND peanut butter).

  • Always keep your OR statements in one line and use parentheses--this mitigates issues of the default process order of AND, OR, and NOT in various databases

  • Using quotation marks around phrases will look for EXACT matches, ONLY.      

Example: "bed bugs" will not find "bed bug".  Instead search for bed AND bug*, without the quotes, to get both variations.