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Media: Search Tips

Search tips for using Databases and the Internet

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To help you get the best results from our Databases or the Internet, try the following search tips:

  • To add 2 topics together use AND between the keywords eg. representation AND women
  •  To provide more results (expand) use OR between the keywords. This is useful when something can be described in different ways eg. women OR gender
  •  To exclude topics which are irrelevant or not wanted use NOT between the words eg. Social media NOT twitter
  •  A minus sign (-) can also be used to exclude a term when searching the Internet eg. to find information on Apple computers and not apples (fruit), enter Apple -fruit
  • To ensure that words always appear together as a phrase, enclose with “quotation marks” eg. “working practice"
  • Some databases allow you to broaden your search by using the stem of a word and an asterisk* to find variant endings eg. Stereotyp* (this will find stereotyped, stereotyping and stereotypical )
  • Using brackets allows you to perform quite sophisticated searches. this is especially relevant to internet searching eg. ("human computer interaction" AND "interface design") AND software
  • Many search engines on the Internet find synonyms automatically ie. they will find center if you have searched for centre. Use a plus symbol (+) or "quotation marks" to ensure a specific spelling of a word is found eg. +Excel or "Excel"
  • In order to find information on a specified subject which originates from academic sources such as University websites, include +ac (British) or +edu (USA) to your search eg. "public relations" +ac 
  •  Use a question mark ? to find different spellings eg. organi?ation (finds organization and organisation)
  •  To get an answer to a question use an asterisk * eg. to find out what Alan Turing developed enter Alan Turing developed*
  •  To find similar websites to one that you have already found use Related: eg. will find other websites which are similar to the Advertising Association

image "Focus" by Mark Hunter