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Monmouth College Hewes Library

Search Tips

Putting it All Together

A database search example using all of the tips below: Boolean, truncation and phrase searching

Boolean Searching

Boolean operators (connector words) such as AND, OR, and NOT, create phrases based on rules of search logic.  

Operator Examples Results                                        

business AND ethics

Retrieves records that contain ALL of the search terms.

hotels OR motels

Retrieves records that contain ANY of the search terms, but does not necessarily include all of them.

java NOT coffee  

Excludes records containing the second search term.  


Truncation Searching

The “ * ” replaces any number of characters and will find all forms of a word root.

  • child* LOCATES child, children, childhood
  • therap* LOCATES therapy, therapies, therapist, therapists, therapeutic, therapeutically


Note: symbols used may differ based on the tool used.  Consult the help documentation.

Wildcard " # " replaces any extra characters that may appear in alternative spellings.

  • colo#r LOCATES color, colour


Wildcard " ? ” replaces one character

  • ne?t LOCATES neat, nest, or next, but will not find net

Phrase Searching

Phrase searching
increases the accuracy of the search by keeping two or more words together as a phrase. Use quotation marks to keep the phrase intact.


“social media”    "fairy tale"    "fake news"

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