GED/GSA 579 

Preparing a Search Statement [For database searching]
Example 1   //   Example 2   //  Truncation and plurals  //  Venn Diagram  // proximity searching

# 1 Example Search Statement

The following search statement can be broken down to searchable terms/concepts.  After writing out a search statement, you should identify the main terms/concepts (see in bold/red below)

Crayfish territoriality and reaction to intruders of the same species

It is difficult to anticipate if the terms or variant spelling of terms are actually in the documents or records you are searching.  This is why we break down the main concepts of our search into broader, narrower or related terms. 
**Reference books and database citation records include subject terms are useful for finding terms in the process of researching your topic.  

decapod crustaceans
Marine animals
Cambaridae Astacidae Parastacidae

Territoriality (Zoology)
chemical ecology

agonistic contests

Boolean/Keyword operators
(or logical connectors)-- AND, OR, and NOT-- are used to link together search terms when searching a database. Boolean/Keyword operators may be used in most databases and search engines, and are used to broaden or narrow a search.

Using Boolean/Keyword Operators in a database search (Expanded Academic ASAP)
note - the asterik (*) is a truncation symbol that looks for spelling possibilities beyond the word stem spelling

See the following searches (among many possibilities)

1. crayfish AND territor*  

2. crayfish* AND (territor* OR fight* OR intrud* OR competi* OR aggress*)  

3. crayfish* NOT lobster*  

Example Search Statement #2
1. State your topic in one sentence:
Race as a factor in death penalty sentencing
2. Break your topic down into key concepts or words:
concept 1:  
race =
racism or racist
concept 2:  
death penalty =
capital punishment
3. Connect these words with the appropriate Boolean operators:
race AND death penalty
4. Broaden your search using synonyms and/or variant spellings. Use parentheses if using two or more Boolean operators in a single search statement:
(race OR racism) AND (death penalty OR capital punishment)

5. Using truncation
     rac* AND death penalty

6. Narrower search

            (race OR racism) AND (death penalty OR capital punishment) AND sentencing



Many databases offer a searching option called truncation. By attaching a designated symbol to the end of a word or word root the computer searches for plurals and/or variations of the word. The symbol is often an asterik (*) or ? (consult help screens in database to verify). Do not place a truncation symbol after a common word root like "tele" or "man" as you will retrieve too many irrelevant hits.

Example: hospi* will retrieve hospice, hospices, hospital, hospitals, hospitable, hospitality, etc.

Example: downsiz* and corporat* will retrieve the same results as: (downsize or downsizing or downsized) and (corporate or corporation or corporations).

Example: employee* will retrieve both singular and plural, employee and employees.

Venn Diagram  - AND  //  OR   //   NOT
A Venn Diagram is a graphical way to show how your search sets narrow or expand

AND Keywords combined with AND will retrieve records only where both terms appear.
Example: social security AND reform (AND is used to narrow a search)
Boolean AND Illustration
Social Security AND Reform
OR Keywords combined with OR will retrieve records where either one or both terms appear.
Example: Weightlifting OR bodybuilding (OR is used to broaden a search)
Boolean OR Illustration
weightlifting OR bodybuilding

Keywords combined with NOT will retrieve records with the first term but not the second.
Example: gambling NOT lottery (NOT is used to narrow a search)

Boolean NOT Illustration
gambling NOT lottery

Proximity Searches - in EBSCOhost Databases ERIC Database

Proximity searching is useful for searching the text of long documents.  You can use a proximity search to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other in the databases. Proximity searching is used with a keyword or Boolean search.

The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched, as follows:

For example, type tax N5 reform to find results that would match tax reform as well as reform of income tax.

For example, type tax W8 reform to find results that would match tax reform but would not match reform of income tax.