When searching for articles in scholarly journals, the database you choose and the keywords you use make a big difference in the results you find. Using advanced search techniques and modifying your results can improve your results. Below are a few examples of searches using Boolean operators, phrase searching, truncation and modifying results in library databases.
The Advanced Search option in databases will usually let you choose where in the article your search term appears. Examples of fields are Title field, Author filed and Abstract field. This is an example of an advanced search in ProQuest Central database for any article in which words beginning with tardigrad appear in the title of the article. If a search term is found in the title of an article, that article is much more about that topic than if the keyword appears in the third paragraph of the article.
Using an asterisk at the end of the search term tardigrad* is called truncation. The database will search for any word that begins with tardigrad - including tardigrade, tardigrades and tardigrada. It will also find Loris tardigradus which is a species of lemur.
Databases allow you to combine and exclude terms from your search results using AND, OR and NOT (or AND NOT). This is called Boolean searching.
This example search in JSTOR should find articles that include any word beginning with tardigrad in the article title AND the word soil anywhere in the article. If you're not sure how to combine terms with Boolean operators, the Advanced Search option in databases can help walk you through the steps.
This is an example search that uses Boolean searching (OR) and phrase searching ("water bear") in Science Direct database. Putting two or more words within quotation marks tells the database to do a phrase search, keeping the works together as they appear in the quotation marks.
Most databases allow you to modify results by certain article characteristics such as date of publication and article type. This search has been limited to certain types of articles. Results in encyclopedias, chapters in books, conference info, and book reviews have been excluded from the results.
The information below comes from subject encyclopedias in Gale Virtual Reference Library databases. The provide very basic information. They are not scholarly journal articles.