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Writing 001 (Toconis): Search Strategies

Tips & Tips: Phrase Searching

Watch this short video to discover how phrase searching can help you locate relevant sources and narrow your search results. (1:00 from North Carolina State University Libraries).

Phrase Searching

Use "quotation marks" to glue phrases together:

"reading skills" will get better, more relevant, results than reading skills

Use quotation marks around two or more words that you want to appear as a phrase.


"college writing"

"academic experiences"

"critical reading"

"Anne Lamott"


How Should I Search in a Database? (NEIU Library)

When you search in a database, it's a good idea to use keywords and Boolean Operators (the words AND, OR, & NOT).  Learn the basics of Boolean (AND / OR / NOT) and keyword searching. (Length: ~1:25)

Question: How can you decide what keywords will work best in your search?

Synonyms - Join with OR

The first words you search for may not be the ones that get you the most results. You may choose instead to look for synonyms -- or words that have close to the same meaning -- as the words you've selected to use in your search. You can connect these using OR.

grades OR GPA

study OR learn

college OR university OR "higher education"

self-discipline OR self-control OR "self regulation"

discipline OR determination

Combining Topics

Use AND to combine two different ideas.

For example:

"academic success" AND sleep

"time management" AND grades

"growth mind-set" AND transition AND college

tuition AND admissions AND "college attendance"