Phrase Searching

Phrase searching means searching a database for words in a precise order. Different databases interpret searches differently. Some very few databases assume that two words next to each other should be searched as a phrase automatically. Most of the databases will put a boolean operator AND between two words.

In general, the easiest way to search for terms next to each other is to enclose them in quotation marks: “global warming”, “drunk driving”.

See the example in the database Web of Science below: the first search working mothers WITHOUT quotation marks gives 15,052 results:

Database Web of Science gives 15052 results for the search working mothers without quotation marks.

The second search “working mothers” WITH quotation marks gives less (759) and more relevant results:

 Database Web of Science gives 759 results for the search working mothers with quotation marks.

You may watch the same example in a short video (1:14) by Cannon Library (the link in the picture takes you to Youtube):

(9/2020 RH)