Databases have more precise ways to limit and refine your searches. Here are a few different tips. Remember each database company is different, so be sure to check their help pages for more specific guidelines.
Truncation allows you to search any ending on a root word.
For example, if your topic uses the word teenagers, then you may also want to search:
The root word is teen. To truncate and search teen with any ending you would enter:
The asterisk at the end of the root word tells the database to search for that word with any ending.
This expands your search to find more articles.
If you put quotation marks around a phrase, most databases will search for that exact phrase. This works on the internet too!
"diffusion of innovation"
"internet of things"
You can tell the databases where to look for a certain word by using the field searching limiters. Most databases use a default search that includes the title, journal title, abstract, and subject terms only. Choosing which specific fields you want to use will help you narrow your search.
Field limiters are typically a drop-down menu located by the search box where you type your search term. For example, in EBSCO databases you will see Select a Field Optional in the drop-down menu to the right of the first search box.
Learn more about search fields and indexing in our guide:
Most databases share field limits. The list below explains some of the more common ones.
Some databases have specialized fields you can search. Most databases have a Help menu where you can learn about their fields.
These are the field names that appear when you click on Select a Field (optional) in an EBSCO database: TX All Text, AU Author, TI Title, SU Subject Terms, SO Journal Title/Source, AB Abstract, IS ISSN, IB ISBN
You can find Select a Field Optional to the right of the first search box. Use the drop-down menu to see field name options.