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Law and the Legal Environment: Database Searching

Search Operators

AND    

 Mandates the inclusion of the word or phrases somewhere in the record.

                        Example:          citizens united and campaign finance 


OR      

 Used to account for variety in expressing an idea. Records will contain any one of the words or phrases in the set, not necessarily all.

                        Example:          (FEC or federal election commission) and (lawsuit or litigation)

 


NOT    

 Excludes records containing a specified word or phrase. When using “not,” one must put “not” at the end of one’s search statement.

                        Example:          citrus fruits not tangerines

 


Truncation      

 Utilized to account for varieties of a desired word.  The database will find records containing words beginning with the word chunk you provide.

For example, a search for pharma* would retrieve records containing any of the following:

Pharmacy, pharmacies, pharmaceutical, etc.

Keep in mind that the truncation symbol changes from database to database.  For example, while EBSCO databases use the asterisk (*), LexisNexis uses the exclamation point (!).  Consult the respective databases' HELP screens to learn the truncation symbol for the given database.

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Michael Coffta
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