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Turning Keywords into Search Queries
Databases don't work the same as a Google search--there are certain strategies that will ensure you receive the results you need.
Link main ideas together with AND:
"prescribed burning" AND "soil health"
Link related terms together with OR:
"prescribed burning" OR "controlled burning" OR "prescribed fire"
Capitalize words such as AND, which help the database construct the search, to tell the database that the word is a "search operator" and not a keyword.
Get Fewer Results Using "AND"
AND narrows your search
This example returns results with both terms: "prescribed burning" AND soil
How Do I Search A Database?
Video courtesy of the UTC Library
Using quotation marks " " to group two or more words will tell the database or search engine to search them as a single concept.
database might search for controlled AND burning
" controlled burning" :
database searches for the exact phrase between the quotation marks
Get More Results Using "OR"
OR broadens your search
This example returns results with either term: "soil quality" OR "soil health"
Save Time By Truncating Keywords
In many databases, the * character is a wildcard that tells the database to search for multiple characters in place of the *.
burn* = burn AND burning AND burned
bear* = bear AND bears AND bearable
(the bear example illustrates how truncation can lead to some unexpected results)
Get Fewer Results Using "NOT"
NOT excludes results that use a specific term
This example returns results with "prescribed burning" but not "Cerro Grande" : "prescribed burning" NOT "Cerro Grande"
(Cerro Grande is the name of a particular wildfire that was originally lit as a prescribed burn)