Skip to Main Content

Leveraging Library Resources & Services in Writing Consultations

session for Peer Writing Consultants

Online Research: Tips for Effective Search Strategies

Three Strategies


1. Use OR to broaden your search. Use to join similar terms. Example: power OR authority

2. Use AND to narrow your search. Use to join dissimilar terms.  Example: anxiety AND tutoring

3. You can use AND and OR together. Example: (aggressions OR microagressions) AND "writing centers"


"Quotation Marks"

To search for specific phrases, enclose them in quotation marks. The database will search for those words together in that order.  Examples: “writing tutorials”, “international students”, “undergraduate writing tutors”



Truncate a word in order to search for different forms of the same word. Many databases use the asterisk * as the truncation symbol.

Add the truncation symbol to the word tutor* to search for tutor, tutors, tutoring  etc.

You do have to be careful with truncation. If you add the truncation symbol to the word minor*, the database will search for minor, minors, minority, minorities, etc.