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Module 1: Beginning Your Research

Refine Search Results

You can use additional techniques to further expand or limit search results

Phrase Searching:  

Use quotation marks around a phrase (not a single word) or select "as a phrase" in a pull-down menu.


  • "acid rain"
  • "Martin Luther King, Jr"

Use parentheses ( ) to nest related search terms.

Example: (bay OR harbor) AND pollution


Use a symbol to search variations of root words

Truncation symbols vary from database to database - an asterisk (*) is the most common truncation symbol.


  • pollut* = pollution, pollutant, pollutants, polluting
  • environ* = environment, environmental, environmentally

Many databases give you options to limit search results by: document type, publication date, language, etc.

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