Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

RDG 1300: Reading Improvement: Search Strategies

This course guide was created for James Dyer's RDG 1300 (Reading Improvement) class.

About Searching

When you search library databases, you will use keywords related to your research topic. Then use the keywords to combine them using Boolean Operators into search strings (or phrase searching) to improve your search.  Boolean Operators are simple words (AND, OR, and NOT) that are used to connect and define the relationship between keywords.

Remember that the database can't interpret what you mean, so you have to be clear and specific with your searches in order to control the results.

Boolean Operators in Action: AND

Boolean Operators in Action: OR

Boolean Operators in Action: NOT

Truncation Searching

Truncation is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings.

  • To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end.
  • Examples:
    child* = child, childs, children, childrens, childhood
    genetic* = genetic, genetics, genetically

Phrase Searching

Mind Maps in Credo

 

You'll find these handy mind maps in Credo Reference.  They display a main topic & related topics to help you explore.

Research is HARD!

Wildcard Searching

Wildcard searches allow the database to replace the wildcard symbol with any letters that would make up a real word. It's like a shorthand way of typing every possible word that fits the pattern with OR in between.
 
Symbol What it does Sample search Instead of typing
* replaces zero or more letters at the end of a word
(this is truncation)
comput* computer OR computing OR computational OR...
# replaces at most one letter ne#t net OR neat OR next OR nest OR...
? replaces only one letter b?t bat OR bet OR bit OR bot OR but OR...


REMEMBER: Some databases may use these symbols differently or may use different symbols, so check the database's help section if you're having problems with wildcards.