Skip to Main Content

Advanced Searching Strategies: Home

Quick Study Guide that provides tutorials on conducting Advanced Search Strategies

Library Skills Videos

Asking a Librarian

Paul Graham, University Librarian

Email Paul Graham (AST)

Subject Liaison: Creative Arts, Education, Psychology

Kathy Coorsh, Academic Librarian

Email Kathy Coorsh (EST)

Subject Liaison: Business, Interior Design/Decorating & General Studies

Nell Beaudry, Academic Librarian

Email Nell Beaudry (PST)

Subject Liaison: Business, Library Instruction, Information Literacy, Psychology

Melissa Discola, Library Technician

Email Melissa Discola (EST)

Subject Liaison: Textbook Management & Administration

Sarah Van Sickle, Academic Librarian

Email Sarah Van Sickle (EST)

Subject Liaison: Resource Management, Business, Interior Design/Decorating, Creative Arts

What is Advanced Searching?

Advanced searching strategies in library databases refer to techniques and methods that go beyond basic keyword searches to help users find more precise and relevant information. Some common advanced searching strategies include using 

  1. Boolean Operators: Using operators like "AND," "OR," and "NOT" to combine or exclude keywords in search queries. "AND" narrows results by requiring both terms, "OR" broadens results by including either term, and "NOT" excludes specific terms.

  2. Phrase Searching: Enclosing search terms in quotation marks to find exact phrases, ensuring more accurate results. For example, "climate change" will retrieve documents that contain that exact phrase.

  3. Truncation and Wildcards: Employing symbols like "" or "?" to search for variations of a word. For instance, "comput" can find "computer," "computers," or "computation."

  4. Subject Headings: Utilizing controlled vocabulary terms or subject headings provided by the database to access materials on a specific topic consistently.

  5. Filters and Limiters: Applying database-specific filters and limiters like date range, document type, or language to narrow search results according to specific criteria.

By employing these advanced searching strategies, researchers can enhance the precision and relevance of their searches within library databases, making it easier to locate the information they need.

. (See Also, Boolean Searching.)

What is Advanced Searching?

Rate this Guide

Was this Guide Helpful?
Yes: 0 votes (0%)
No: 1 votes (100%)
Unsure: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 1

Software Options

Citation Software Options

  • Zotero: Zotero is freely accessible citation and research management software.
  • Endnote: EndNote is a reference manager that helps you save time formatting citations, so you can focus on your research.
  • Mendeley: Mendeley brings your research to life, so you can make an impact on tomorrow
  • Papers: Papers helps you collect and curate the research material that you're passionate about.