These search tips can help you to find more relevant results in Primo Search and many other library databases. If these tips don't work in the database you are using check their help section for their set of symbols.
|Use AND to retrieve results that contain both of your search terms.||psychology AND community|
|Use OR to retrieve results that contain any or all of your search terms.||counselling OR counseling|
|Using NOT to exclude irrelevant results.||psychology NOT psychiatry|
|Combine terms with parentheses to create complex searches.||(psychology OR counselling) AND community benefits|
|Use quotation marks to search for a phrase||"positive psychology"|
|Search for terms with different word endings using an asterisk.||psycho* = psychology, psychological, psychotherapy|
|A question mark can be used to replace a single letter within a word.||analy?e = analyze, analyse|
Journal databases use a controlled vocabulary when indexing article records to enable information to be grouped by topic.
By controlling the vocabulary, the database ensures that synonyms and similar phrases are collected under one accepted term.
You can search using a database's vocabulary. When you are in a database there will usually be a hyperlink near the search boxes called thesaurus, subjects, or subject headings.
Records in library databases are comprised of fields containing specific pieces of bibliographic information. Common fields include:
Limiting your search to specific fields can yield more precise results.
Searching within the abstract fields (AB) can be particularly helpful. This is because abstracts, as summaries of articles, are very keyword-rich: If you get a 'hit' on a keyword in an abstract you will usually find the article is relevant. The abstract is also a good source to find additional keywords you can use in your search strategies.
Most databases also allow you to limit your search or refine your results set by facets. Common facets include:
In many cases, you can also limit a search to scholarly or peer reviewed articles. The options will depend on the database you are searching.
A proximity search forces a database to find results where one search term appears within a certain number of words of another search term. The proximity operator varies according to the database.
Examples from an EBSCOhost database:
Aboriginal N3 mental health (N=near)This will find results where Aboriginal is within 3 words of mental health in any order
Aboriginal W3 mental health (W=within)This will find results where Aboriginal is within 3 words of mental health in the order in which you entered the search terms
Most databases provide the option to save your searches and set up alerts to help you keep up to date with the latest research. To do this you will need to create an account within a database which is separate from your Charles Sturt University login.
To find out how to set this up within different databases see the Library's Keep up to date with the literature.