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WILD 4400: Search Tips

Boolean operators

AND only returns search results that contain both keywords

OR returns results that include either keyword

NOT excludes one or more of your keywords

General search tips

If you're coming up with too many or too few results, try these tips! Below are a few examples using Web of Science.  Most of them can be used in other databases as well.

Broaden your search

  • Shorten a word to its root (truncate it) and add an asterisk (*)
    • A search for pollut* would include the words pollute, pollution, pollutants, polluting, etc.
  • Generate a list of synonyms and link them with OR in the search box
    • pollution OR contamination

Narrow your search

  • Use more than one word/concept in your search
  • Use NOT to exclude certain words
    •   If you don’t want any results related to seabirds, add NOT seabirds to the search

Search tips for Web of Science

Web of Science has a lot of features to make narrowing your search and finding similar documents easier for you.  Here are a few of them:

 On the main search page

  • Under Timespan, narrow the date range
  • Add another search term

 On the results page

  • On the left side of the screen, narrow your results by CATEGORY, DOCUMENT TYPE, AUTHOR, etc.

 On an individual record page

  • View the Author-supplied Keywords or Keyword Plus - use those terms in your search
  • Click on View Related Records
  • View Cited References and to read abstracts or download articles from the bibliography
  • View Times Cited to read abstracts or download articles that cited the article of interest
  • If you find a really helpful article, you can 1) find links to papers that cited that article by clicking on Times Cited; and 2) find links to papers in its bibliography by clicking Cited Refereces.  This can save a lot of time searching!

*And remember: You can save marked records and email them to yourself or upload them directly to Endnote.*