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Dental Hygiene: Search Techniques

Search Techniques - Set Filters or Limits

Databases usually allow you to limit or filter your search results in various ways. These may include:

  • language
  • type of publication (case study, clinical trials, review articles)
  • sex
  • age groups
  • date published
  • peer-reviewed

Search Techniques - Truncation & Wildcard

Most databases use the symbol * or #. Use the database's Help tab for verification of the correct symbol.

Truncation Symbol:  Uses root of the word…

Example:  pharm*

Finds pharmacology, pharmacy, pharmaceutical, etc.

Example:  injur*

Finds injured, injury, injuries, etc.

Wildcard Symbol:  Allows for multiple spellings of a word...

Example: sul*ur

Finds sulphur and sulfur

Example: orthop*dic

Finds orthopedic and orthopaedic

Exact Phrase: Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase.

Example:  "persian cat"

Finds information on cats that are the Persian breed, not just cats in relation to anything Persian.

Boolean Operators

Boolean logic is a system that allows a searcher to set relationships between keywords or concepts when searching. The most commonly used Boolean commands are AND, OR, and NOT. Parentheses can be used to specify the relationship further. Using these operators can make your searches more precise and save time.

AND NARROWS: 
Tells the database that you only want articles that contain ALL of the search terms

smoking AND nicotine

OR EXPANDS: 
Tells the database that you want all articles that contain EITHER of the terms

smoking OR nicotine

NOT EXCLUDES: 
Tells the database that you do not want any articles that contain a certain term

smoking NOT nicotine

JOINING NARROWS: 
Tells the database that you want articles with EITHER of two terms AND another

(smoking OR nicotine) AND cancer