Narrowing your search

Sometimes the amount of information available can be daunting, but there are ways to narrow your search and extract the details that are more specific to your topic.

Combining keywords

To make your search more specific, combine two or more keywords into a single search, using principles called 'Boolean logic'.

If you want to find specific information about two related topics, you can combine your keywords using 'AND'.

For example, searching for Environment AND pollution would find articles that contain both of these words, but not articles that are only about environment or only about pollution.

If you want to find information about one topic but not another topic, you can combine your keywords using 'NOT'.

For example, a search for Pollution NOT smoke would find articles that contain the word 'pollution' but are not to do with smoke.

Searching for an exact phrase

You can also make your search more specific by searching for an exact phrase.

For example, rather than searching for articles including the words 'graduate' and 'training' and 'scheme', you could search for articles including the exact phrase 'graduate training scheme'

Depending on which database you are searching, you may need to enter your keywords using brackets or speech marks if you want to find an exact phrase.

For example, to find information about a graduate training scheme, you would enter "graduate training scheme" in speech marks. (If you don't use speech marks, you may find articles that include the words 'graduate', 'training' and 'scheme', but not necessarily the whole phrase.)

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