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Metaphysics: Database Searching

Search Operators


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

                        Example:          something and nothing


 Records will contain any one or more of the words or phrases in the set, not necessarily all.

                        Example:          pragmatism or neopragmaticism


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

                        Example:          rational not irrational



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

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

epistemiology, epistemiological, 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's picture
Michael Coffta
AL 219

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