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Library Services for Brandeis Online Programs

This research guide highlights the services and resources that will be most helpful to you throughout your Brandeis Online program. The guide also includes tips on searching more effectively and ways to get help with research, writing, and citations.

Advanced tips for searching academic databases

Sometimes you can get what you need just by typing relevant search terms into a database. If that doesn't work, there are some strategies you can use to tell the database exactly what you're looking for. 

Use AND & OR

AND & OR (called "Boolean operators") are commands that tell the database how to look up your terms. 


If you want to find information about doctors' communication, try searching for adolescents AND anxiety. This tells the database that you only want articles that mention both adolescents and anxiety.


OR gives the database alternative words/phrases to try. For example, searching for adolescents OR teens will find articles with either one of those terms. 

Use OR with synonyms to broaden your results. Searching for "adolescence or teens" will usually give you more results than just one of these terms, since different sources might use different terms.

Use parentheses around similar terms: (adolescence OR teens) AND (anxiety OR stress).

Truncation and phrase searching

Most, but not all, databases recognize these commands:

Use the asterisk (*) to search for all possible endings of a word. For example, "therap*" will find therapies, therapies, therapist, therapists, theraputic, therapeutically, etc.

Use quotation marks (“ ”) to search for a phrase. For example, "cognitive behavioral therapy" will find those words in that exact order.