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Tips for More Successful Searching
- Make sure your search terms are spelled correctly. Even with Sound-Alike Matching turned on, the search engine will return better results when your terms are spelled correctly.
- This search engine distinguishes upper and lower case. Capitalize proper nouns, and remember that lower-case words will match any case.
- For example, typing "search" finds documents containing the words "search, Search," and "SEARCH", but "Search", finds only "Search."
- Multiple word searches:
- Remember that more words with dissimilar meanings return fewer results. Use words with similar meanings to increase relevant results. Refine your search by using a larger quantity of relevant words. Relevant results are returned even if they don't contain all query terms.
- If your research topic is "Can teachers lead prayer in school classrooms?" use the words [ teacher prayer school ] rather than [ school prayer ]
- Search for phrases by using quotation marks to enclose the words of a phrase.
Please note that quotation marks can only be used when the "any" radio button is selected. Quotes are ignored if the "all" or "phrase" radio buttons are selected.
- For example, [ "James Madison" ] returns only documents with that exact phrase but [ James Madison ] will return all documents with the word "James" plus all documents with the word "Madison" as well as documents with "James Madison."
- Must or must not appear:
- The plus sign tells the search engine that a certain word or phrase is required in the search results, and a minus sign indicates that a word or phrase must be absent in the search results.
Note: A phrase must be contained within quotation marks. Leave no spaces between the plus or minus sign and the term.
Note that plus and minus can only be used when the "any" radio button is selected. Plus and minus are ignored if the "all" or "phrase" radio buttons are selected.
- Example [ +"James Madison" -"James Monroe" ] will return all documents containing the words "James Madison" but will not return any containing both "James Madison" and "James Monroe."
- Use the [ * ] character to substitute for letters in a word or phrase.
- "pray*" will find all documents containing the words "pray," "prayed," "prayer," or "praying."
- "*ist" will find all documents containing words ending in "ist" including "list," "accommodationist," "preferentialist," etc.
- "*her*" will find all words containing "her" completely within the word including "gathering," "mother,"
- Wildcards, plus (+) and minus (-) modifiers and quotation marks may be combined to expand or refine your search terms.
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