Skip to Main Content

MRS213 Research Skills Guide


Before you start searching online resources, it's good to have a grasp of some of the general techniques of online searching.

Note: Databases and other online resources are similar in what they offer and what they do, but are different in their specific appearance and functionality. It's a good idea to check a database's Help section to check and confirm how to search in that particular database.

For more information please see: Searching in a Database

Get better search results

Common Search Techniques

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.

Search Operator Example
Use AND to retrieve results that contain both of your search terms. imaging AND diagnostic
Use OR to retrieve results that contain any or all of your search terms. management OR treatment
Using NOT to exclude irrelevant results. drink NOT milk
Combine terms with parentheses to create complex searches. melanoma AND (managment OR treatment OR intervention)
Use quotation marks to search for a phrase "diagnostic imaging"
Search for terms with different word endings using an asterisk. treat* = treats, treated, treatment, treatments
A question mark can be used to replace a single letter within a word. analy?e = analyse, analyze

For information on these search tips and more please see: Searching in a Database

Example Search Strategy

A search strategy using the key concepts identified from our PICO example, and combined with synonyms and relevant search techniques might look like:

melanoma AND (imaging OR radiography) AND (therapy OR treat* OR manag*)

We'll work through how to apply this search strategy in Primo Search and journal databases in the next few pages of this guide.

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.Acknowledgement of Country

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. CRICOS Provider: 00005F.