Search Techniques


Boolean operators

  • AND
    • Many databases don’t need AND, it is assumed
    • The more terms you AND together, the fewer results you find
  • OR
    • Used to combine synonyms/related terms
    • The more terms you OR together, the more results you find
    • Use brackets when using synonyms with OR
  • NOT
    • Use to remove irrelevant results that use the same term
    • When you use NOT you will find fewer results

Phrase searching

  • Quotations - “biological signaling”


  • Asterisk (sometimes other symbol) – signal*

Search Tips

  • Synonyms or related terms
  • Discover new terms in your search results
  • Controlled vocabulary
  • Author search
  • Refine/Filters
  • Citation tracking
  • Citation counts
  • Search history

Getting Started

  • Review articles
  • Dissertations/Theses
Content last reviewed: January 4, 2021