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Humanities LibreTexts

3.1: Keyword Searching: Do it Better!

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  • What do you do if the results you want aren’t coming up when you keyword search the web or a database? Here are a few helpful tips:

    • Searching a phrase? Put it in quotation marks: “textbook affordability” will get you results for that exact phrase.
    • Searching for two terms that you think are topically related? Use AND (or +) to connect them: education AND racism, or, education + racism, will only bring up results that include both terms
    • Searching for a term that’s commonly associated with a topic you don’t want to learn about? Use NOT (or -) in front of the keyword you don’t want results from: articles NOT magazines, or, articles – magazines, will bring up results that are about articles, but exclude any results that also include the term magazines.
    • Want to get back as many results on a topic as possible? Use * at the end of a word for any letters that might vary: smok*, will bring up results that include the term smoke, smoking, and smokers.
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