1) PHRASE SEARCHING use " " quotation marks to search for a phrase
2) TRUNCATION use an * to look for end variation on a word
3) AND to join dissimilar term
4) OR to join similar terms
5) PROXIMITY SEARCHING.
I have used with "tricky" topics. Example: I want to know more about students' perceptions of sociology. A search for (attitude OR perception OR view OR opinion) N/2 sociology could bring up phrases such as "attitude about sociology", "perceptions on learning sociology" and "perceptions of sociology".
Use a Thesaurus: Find out the terminology (controlled vocabulary) assigned to citations. Databases may not use the same subject headings. You may be able to search a thesaurus or filter on subject terms via facets on a search results page.
Examples of thesaurus terms in three search tools:
|Teaching Teams||Teaching Teams||Team Teaching|
|Space perception||Spatial ability in children||Spatial ability|
|Humanities -- Study and teaching (Higher)||Humanities education||Humanities instruction|