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Database Help: Phrase searching

Phrase vs Keyword Searching

  • What's the difference between keyword-searching and phrase-searching?
    • Keyword-searching = when you enter multiple words, your results will contain both or all words, but not necessarily together as a phrase.
    • Phrase-searching  = when you enter multiple words, your results will contain only that phrase.
       
  • Most search tools default to keyword-searching. This includes Primo Search, EBSCOhost databases, and ProQuest databases (also Google and Google Scholar). Some databases, e.g. Ovid databases, default to phrase searching.
KEYWORD SEARCHING [most common]
If you enter lung cancer ... ... you will get lung AND cancer.
You must enter "lung cancer" ... ... to get the specific phrase lung cancer.
 
PHRASE SEARCHING [less common]
If you enter lung cancer ... ... you will get the specific phrase lung cancer.
You must enter lung AND cancer ...  ... to get the keywords lung AND cancer.

If in doubt, use double quotation marks if you want to search for a phrase.