Skip to main content

Database Searching: Truncation

Description:

Learn how to use truncation and wildcards to refine your database search.

Truncation

Truncation is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings. To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end.

    Examples:

    elect* = election, electoral, elections
    econ* = economy, economic, economics, econometric, economique
    politi* = politics, political, politician, politique, politische

    The most commonly used truncation symbol is an asterisk (*)

    Wildcards

    Wildcards are similar to truncation, but substitute a symbol for just one character.

    Examples:

    wom?n = woman, women

    democrati?ation = democratisation, democratization

    defen?e = defence, defense

    19?? = any  number between 1900 and 1999

    The most commonly used single wildcard symbol is a question mark. If in doubt, check the help screens of the database you're using.

    Librarian Assistance

    Our friendly reference librarians can help you with general information (such as locating full-text articles) or in-depth research questions (like how to use research databases). Stop by the Reference Desk for one-on-one help. You may also call, email, or chat us!

    Phone: 713.799.7162

    SMS text your question to 713.636.5295

    Email

    Chat 

    Our reference hours are:

    Days Time
    Monday-Friday 9:00 am-5:00 pm