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Database Searching

Phrase Searching

Most databases allow you to specify that adjacent words be searched as exact phrases. Using parentheses or quotation marks around search words is a common way to do phrase searching.  Be sure to check the Help screens to find out how to do phrase searching in the database you're using.

Example:  "health services research"

Keep in mind...

  • Different databases interpret searches differently. A common variation is how databases recognize phrases.
  • Some assume that words typed next to each other should be searched as phrases.
  • Others automatically put a Boolean AND between your search terms, requiring that all the words be present, but not necessarily adjacent to each other.
  • These searches can retrieve very different results.


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