Phrases are two or more words adjacent to one another. Use phrase searching only when a concept must be represented by a specific phrase. In each of these examples, separating the words changes the meaning, so use quotation marks to search as a phrase.
In the first example, a source could contain the words social and media without being about social media. If you didn't use quotation marks, you could get many irrelevant results because most databases automatically put a Boolean AND between your search terms.
Beware of including more than one concept in a phrase. Instead of "violence in video games" search "video games" AND violence. For more help on identifying concepts, visit the Choosing Keywords guide.
Truncation, also called stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include multiple word endings.
To truncate, put the truncation symbol at the end of the root word. Generally, databases use the asterisk/star symbol *. If the asterisk doesn't seem to work, check the help link in the database you are using or ask a librarian.
If you use more than one type of Boolean operator -- most commonly AND with OR -- use parentheses to group similar concepts or synonyms together into a search string.
You can enter this kind of search string directly into most databases.
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