Phrase searching tells the database that you want a specific series of words to be found in that order.
Searching for Crime and Punishment, without quotes, will result in many articles about criminal justice.
Searching for "Crime and Punishment", with quotes, will result in many articles about the book Crime and Punishment .
Wildcards allow you to search for multiple words or versions of a word using only word.
Nesting (also known as grouping) is a means to create a sophisticated search that combines multiple search words and booleans and is based on PEMDAS from math class. Let's explore this concept through a search.
Lets say I'm researching ankle sprains and fractures.
This will come back with articles that talk about:
This doesn't help me since I'm looking for ankle sprains or ankle fractures.
I communicate this to the search more clearly by using nesting (wrapping my terms and booleans using parentheses).
ankle* AND (sprain* OR fracture*)
With this search, this is what the search engine does:
The following is an example of refining my search in an attempt to find research on the keto diet.
|Diet||No Limiters||31,065||Starting broad|
|Ketogenic||No Limiters||128||Trying narrow but its too narrow. I'm possibly excluding some words that I would want.|
|Keto*||No Limiters||917||Stepping back by truncating keto* so I can find Ketogenic & Ketosis.|
|Keto* NOT ketorolac||No Limiters||807||Removed unrelated drug.|
|Keto* NOT ketorolac||Peer reviewed and past 5 years||192||Narrow to recently published, peer-reviewed studies.|
|(keto* AND health*) NOT ketorolac||Peer reviewed and past 5 years||72||Narrowing to articles that mention any form of health.|
|(keto* AND health*) NOT (ketorolac OR "ketone salts")||Peer reviewed and past 5 years||69||Now exluding articles mentioning the phrase "ketone salts".|
You can use Scholarly Communication to your advantage when search for information by looking at past articles through reference mining and looking for articles since published by citation tracking.
When you find an article on your topic, that article will have multiple references to similar articles in their reference list. This is a useful way to find more relevant articles.
Additionally, if you were to search for your topic including either:
you'll find research articles that have distilled the current research about that topic at the time of its publication. This is another useful way to find more relevant articles.
Like Reference Mining where you find works cited within an article, citation tracking finds the articles that cite the article you have in hand.
Web of Science is a great resource for citation tracking.