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Top 4 most useful search tips

December 6th, 2018

in Pickering Educational Resources Library

These search tips will work in many different databases, including BU Libraries Search, Google, and many of our subscription sources like JSTOR.

1. Surround your terms in quotes if you’re looking for an exact title or some meaningful phrase.
“review of educational research”

2. There are usually many slightly different words to describe one basic concept, so put synonyms in your search.
cars OR automobiles

3. Group like terms in parenthesis with OR, and capitalize the operators AND, OR, and NOT.
(cars OR automobiles) AND (hybrid OR electric)

4. Try truncation. A search for teach* retrieves results for (teach OR teaches OR teaching OR teacher, etc).


Going beyond these simple tips is also possible in many of our subscription databases.  For instance, did you know that in PsycInfo, you can limit a search to show only results related to “Adolescence (13-17 yrs)”?

Please feel free to send questions, comments or suggestions through our Ask a Librarian service.