Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Business: Using the Library to Support your Dissertation/Project: Search Techniques

Search Techniques

Phrase Searching
Use double quotation marks (“) to search for a phrase. 
 This is useful when you are searching for something specific.


Searching for change management in BCU Library retrieved 8087217 results, using “Change management” as a phrase reduced the number of results to 64265.

Truncation and Wildcards
When thinking about keywords you come across some which could have variations on the ending of that word, or certain words that have different spellings:

Wildcards can be used to replace the word endings, or letters within a word.  The search performed will return all results containing the alternative words.  Wildcard symbols vary in each database.  Each database usually has an index of the symbols available, and where they should be used. 


On BSU library search, wildcards are * and ?.
They cannot be used within phrase " " searching or at the beginning of a word.
An asterisk (*) should be used to represent zero or more characters in the middle or at the end of a word:
Colo?r - colour, color 
Leader* - Leader, Leaders, Leadership.
A question mark (?) should be used to represent one character only in the middle of a word:
H?ppy - happy, hippy


Proximity searches limit result sets to terms within a specified number of words from within each other. This is helpful when you want your key words to appear close together but they are not a phrase. 
Many databases allow you to search by proximity.  In a subject database, go the help tab within the database to see how you can do this.


Stop words

Stop words are the most common words which you'll find in each language. When you search for a stop word, most databases will ignore them during a basic keyword search.

These are just some the words ignored by Library Search: 














If these words are crucial to the meaning of your search, you will need to use quotation marks " " to force the database/search engine to use them.

Here is a full list of stop words.


If you search for man of the year, Library Search will ignore the words "of" and "the", meaning it will find any publications mentioning both "man" AND "year".

If you search for "man of the year" with quotations, it will find that exact phrase, including "of" and "the" in that order.

Accessibility Statement