A multi-disciplinary database, such as Academic Search Complete in EbscoHost, is a good source for topics that don't fall easily into a subject catagory.
- an asterisk(*) at the stem of a word will find all forms of the word: educat*= education, educable, educate.
- Quotes around phrases (“xx yy”) will insure that your keywords are searched as a phrase; rather than individual words. "Social work" will yield much different results than results with social and/or work.
- Question marks (?) can be used as wild cards to replace an unknown letter or letters in a keyword. This is especially helpful with spelling issues; e.g. if you can't remember whether i or e is first use Einst??n.
Other databases like LexisNexis Academic may use the same or different characters for stemming ( !, instead of *) or wild cards (* instead of ?). When searching a database unfamiliar to you, check the the "Help" section of the database to determine the search symbols for that database.