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SHB GEO110: Research and Resources: Database search tips

Sources for researching your Country Studies.

Tips for better searching

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.

In EbscoHost/ProQuest:

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," not social and 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:  Einst??n = Einstein and Einstien
In ProQuest:

An asterisk can also be used as a wild card at the beginning, middle or end of the word.  *old = behold, foretold, mold; col*r= color or colour, bird*= birds, birding, birdbath, etc.

In LexisNexis Academic:

Use an exclamation point ( ! ) for stemming: educat!= education, educable, educate.

Use an asterisk ( * ) for wild cards: Einst**n = Einstein and Einstien


Adding an ampersand (& ) at the end of a word finds the singular and plural of the word:  cat? = cat and cats

An asterisk (*) acts as a multiple character wild card:  bird* = bird, birding, birdman, birds, and other words that start with bird

Question marks (?) act as single character wild cards: te?ts = the words tents, tests, texts

A number sign (#) finds all forms of the word: goose# = goose, geese, and gosling

When searching a database unfamiliar to you, check the the "Help" section of the database to determine the search symbols for that database.