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Search Strategies and Techniques

This guide will walk you through various search strategies you could use in the library databases.


Library databases can be very literal when searching. The database is going to search exactly what you type in, but sometimes there can be different variations of the same word, for example, variations of the word "child" could also be "childhood" or "children." That means if you only used "child" as a keyword, you would be missing sources that mention "children" or "childhood."

The way to search all of the variations of a word at the same time is to use truncation. Add a asterisk ( * ) to the root of your word in order to search all the variations of the word.


child* = child, children, childhood

harmon* = harmony, harmonica, harmonies

nurs* = nurse, nurses, nursing

Important Note!

Truncation may not work for every word, so you need to be careful about where you put the asterisk ( * ).

For example, wom* will get you woman, women, womb, and wombat! This search might give you some sources you are definitely not looking for.

Check out the below video from James Cook University Australia to learn more about how to search using truncation.