Identify related words
Maximise your search results by including alternative words for your keywords, such as different spellings and synonyms. Use a thesaurus or dictionary to help identify these.
- adolescent also use teenager, young people and young adult
- well-being also use wellbeing.
Search for phrases
You can place double quotation marks around two or more words to retrieve results with only that exact phrase.
- "social media"
- "students with disabilities"
Find multiple word endings
Use the truncation symbol when searching to replace the ending of a keyword. This symbol is usually an asterisk (*), but check the help in your search tool. Add the symbol to the end of a word to return variations of that word.
- teen* will find teen, teens, teenager and teenaged
- Australia* will find Australia, Australian, Australians.
A wildcard is a symbol to replace a single character anywhere in a word to find alternative spellings, such as American variations. The wildcard symbol is usually a question mark (?).
- organi?ation finds both organisation and organization
- behavio?r finds both behavior and behaviour.
The Boolean operators are:
- AND—narrows search results, finds both search terms.
- OR—widens search results, finds either or both search terms. Put keywords separated by OR in parentheses.
- NOT—narrows search results, excludes search terms. Use NOT sparingly to avoid excluding relevant results.
You can create simple and complex searches using keywords, phrases, truncation, wildcards and Boolean operators.
- Example search statements
- “social media” AND (well-being OR wellbeing) AND (adolescent OR teen*)
- (“social media” OR Facebook OR Twitter) AND “mental health”
- "Leonardo da Vinci" AND (draw* OR sketch)
- "social media" AND communication NOT marketing
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