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Advanced Search Strategies

Phrase searching

Most of the databases and search engines will AND the words of a phrase together. If you wish to search the term as a phrase, put quotation marks around it to refine your search.

Boolean Operators

One of the easiest ways to refine your search is to use the Boolean operators. The three most common Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT, but there are others available.





 See also The University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library's Boolean Operators Cheat Sheet


Most databases use the asterisk * to truncate words. For example, child* will search for the words child or child’s or children. Another example is listed below.

develop* = develop + develops + development + developmental

Google automatically looks for the singular and plural of a word.

Combining some of the skills together

Some examples:

(nurse OR nursing) AND ("evidence based" OR "patient centered") AND diabetes


Keywords & Subject heading

Try several different search terms and phrases, and take note of useful subjects or descriptors that appear in citations which are on-topic.  Try combining terms with the AND boolean operator to narrow your search. Here are some examples of searches:

  • "evidence based"
  • "best practice"
  • "patient centered"
  • "nursing care"
  • research AND [your topic]