Another very useful term to take note of is NOT. Let’s say that you want to write a paper on institutions of higher learning but you do not want EVERY such school. You want just universities, NOT community colleges. So when typing in a database, what you would do is put universities NOT community colleges. This way you do not have to wade through a surplus of articles dealing with community colleges when that has absolutely nothing to do with your paper.
You can also use specific characters to help your searching. The placement of a bracket can make or break your search, as can the use of an asterisk. A bracket looks like this : ( ), and an asterisk looks like this: *. Let’s see how these work in a practical way. If you are writing a paper on the occurrence of rape on university campuses, you could try the following search: rape AND (universities or colleges). This way it doesn’t matter what term the indexer in question used, universities or colleges. You will find articles on both and because you inserted the word AND, you will get the occurrences of rape in addition to the articles on universities or colleges. What you find will then be exactly relevant.
Finally, you use the asterisk when you are unsure of how to spell a word or you want to find all articles which contain a root word. Let’s say that you want information on something to do with management. But there are other words which could also be useful, such as managers, manage, etc. What you can do to ensure that you find articles on all of these is use an asterisk: manage* will find all of these mentioned words.