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Doctor of Business Administration

A Library Subject Guide

General Search Tips for Creating Effective Search Statements

Choose keywords that represent the main concept(s) of your research topic. Then, as needed:

  • Use AND
    This will narrow your search, since search results will include only documents that contain all of the words linked by AND.
  • Use OR
    This will broaden your search, since search results will include documents that contain any of the words linked by OR. Terms linked by OR should be put between parentheses to ensure that your search is processed properly.  
  • Use quotation marks
    Quotation marks should be used to search for phrases that are composed of two or more words, since putting words between quotation marks tells a database to find documents in which the words appear together, and in the order given. For example, searching for "human resources" will find documents that contain that exact phrase.
  • Use * (an asterisk)
    This will find various endings of the word fragment before the *. For example, searching for manage* will find documents containing managermanagersmanagement, etc. Note that you can use an asterisk in a phrase enclosed in quotation marks (e.g., "virtual team*").
    Note, too, that some databases allow you to use a ? (a question mark) or other symbol as a wildcard character that replaces exactly one letter. This can be a useful way to find articles that may use different spellings of a word (e.g., the British spelling of organisation and the American spelling of organization). Consult a database's "help" or "search tips" page to see whether the database allows wildcard characters and, if so, which character it uses for this.
  • Use a proximity operator
    A proximity operator tells a database to find documents in which your search terms appear within a certain number of words from each other. Note that different databases use different proximity operators, so you should consult a database's "help" or "search tips" page to see whether the database allows for proximity searching and, if so, which operators it uses.
Sample search:  manage* AND communicat* n10 ("virtual team*" OR "distributed team*")

Found too many results?

  • Add more keywords, using AND
    If you find that you are retrieving too many results, add more keywords to reflect additional concepts of interest related to your topic.
Sample search:  manage* AND communicat* n10 ("virtual team*" OR "distributed team*") AND trust

Found too few results?

  • Add more keywords, using OR
    If you are having trouble finding enough results, add synonyms or related terms for terms already used in your search statement. 
Sample search:  manage* AND communicat* n10 ("virtual team*" OR "distributed team*" OR "remote team*" OR "dispersed team*")

 

For more information, see Creating effective search statements.

Search Tips for UMGC Library Databases

Vendor EBSCO ProQuest Elsevier1 Elsevier1 ITHAKA Gale LexisNexis Sage
Databases Business Source Ultimate, etc. ABI/INFORM Collection, etc. Scopus ScienceDirect JSTOR2 Gale Business: Insights Nexis Uni Sage Journals
and
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
or
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
not
NOT
NOT
AND NOT3
NOT
NOT
NOT
AND NOT
NOT
phrase
"..."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"..."

truncation

any # of letters

*
*4
*
not supported
*
*
*
*5
wildcard

# (0 or 1 letter)

? (1 letter)

? (0 or 1 letter) ? (1 letter) not supported ? (1 letter)

! (0 or 1 letter)

? (1 letter)

? (1 letter) ? (1 letter)5

proximity

within # words of each other, in any order

n#

(e.g., debt* n5 forgiv*)

n/#

(e.g., debt* n/5 forgiv*)

w/#6

(e.g., debt* w/5 forgiv*)

not supported

~#7

(e.g., debt* forgiv* ~5)

n#8

(e.g., debt* n5 forgiv*)

near/#

(e.g., debt near/5 forgiv*)

"..." ~#>5

(e.g., "debt forgiveness" ~5)

proximity

within # words of each other, in order given

w#

(e.g., chief w5 officer*)

p/#

(e.g., chief p/5 officer*)

pre/#6

(e.g., chief pre/5 oficer*)

not supported not supported

w#8

(e.g., chief w5 officer*)

onear/#

(e.g., chief onear/5 officer*)

not supported

 

1 As of July 2018, Elsevier has used different interfaces for Scopus and ScienceDirect
2 JSTOR has a 200-character limit (including spaces) for search statements
3 AND NOT must always be used at the end of a search statement in Scopus
4 * replaces a maximum of 5 letters in ProQuest databases
5 Sage automatically searches for plurals and other variations of search terms
6 Scopus doesn’t allow proximity operators to be used in search statements that contain AND or AND NOT; they can only be used in search statements containing OR
7 JSTOR only allows proximity operators to be used between single words; they can’t be used between one or more phrases enclosed by quotation marks
8 Gale databases do not allow proximity operators to be used with nested expressions (i.e., in search statements that contain terms enclosed in parentheses)

Refer to a database's Help or Search Tips page for additional information about how to conduct an effective search in the database.

Removing Duplicates From Search Results

See this FAQ for instructions for removing duplicates from EBSCO resources such as Business Source Ultimate and from ProQuest resources such as ABI/INFORM Collection and Dissertations and Theses Global.