Phrasing Search Tips
Used to search for two or more words that occur within a certain range of each other.
There are two operators that are used in proximity searches, N and W.
- N searches near another word. Use this to look for words that fall near each other, but do not have to be in a certain order.
- For example, tax N5 reform would find results that would match "tax reform" as well as "reform of income tax."
- W searches within a certain range of words. Use this to look for words that are located within a certain range of each other and in order.
- For example, tax W8 reform would find results matching "tax reform," but not "reform of income tax" (as the keywords are not in the same order as the search phrase).
Grouping phrases and terms together creates a more focused search. You have two options when grouping phrases:
Quotation Marks “ ” allow you to search for an exact phrase. By combining words together with quotation marks, you tell the search engine to only bring back results that contain that phrase.
- For example, “sports injuries” will retrieve a different set of results than sports and injuries.
- sports and injuries = 2465 results
- “sports injuries” = 1275 results
Parentheses ( ) let you control a search query, and modify your searches by modifying their placement. If you do not use parentheses, terms with AND and NOT have priority over terms with OR. If you use parentheses, elements that are enclosed in parentheses are executed first.
In the example below, the same search terms are used, but the use of parentheses modifies the search, and produces the following results:
- Lung or ((kidney and liver) and skin) = 5912 results
- (Lung or kidney) and (liver and skin) = 9 results
Limiters let you narrow the focus of your search so that the information retrieved from the databases you search is limited according to the values you select. You can use more than one limiter if more than one is available.
Common limiters that can appear below the Search Options tab include:
- Full-text – Click to limit results to articles with full text.
- Peer Reviewed – Limits search results to articles from peer-reviewed or refereed journals.
- Journal/Magazine – Enter a journal/magazine name in this field to limit results to articles only from that title.
- Date Published – Use this option to search for articles within a specified date range.