Search tips

Simple tricks to improve your searches

Phrase search and truncation

If you want to search for several terms at the same time, it is often good to use " " around your terms. Then you will get hits where the words are adjacent to each other. For example, "sustainable development".

Often words have several endings. If you type a truncation character, often *, after the word stem, you get hits with several endings of the word. For example, sustainab* provides hits on both sustainable and sustainability.

If you are unsure of the spelling of a word, you can replace a character with ?. For example, organi?ation provides hits on organisation and organization.

Note that it may vary between different search services which characters you should use. Often there are information about this in the help texts.

Boolean operators AND ORCombine search terms

AND, OR, NOT are operators that you can user to combine your searches. AND is default operator in most search services.

Use AND:

  • When you want all terms to be searched
  • When you want to narrow a search

Use OR:

  • When you want to search with synonyms
  • When some of the words should be included
  • When you like to broaden your search

Too few results?

If your search gives you too few results, you may need to consider the following:

  • Try other search terms
  • Try broader search terms
  • Do a OR search with synonyms
  • Remove your refinements, if you have made such
  • Try another database

Too many results?

If your search gives you too many results, you may need to consider the following:

  • Use more specific search terms
  • Include more search terms
  • Refine your search to type of publication, year or other refinements
  • Use subject terms when you search
  • Search in specific fields, for example the title field or abstract field