Skip to Main Content Saint Mary's Libraries

Research Databases

Tips for Searching Databases

Multiple Key Words or Phrases: Place in separate boxes or separate by Boolean operators. Don’t string them together all on one line as you would in Google.

Put phrases in quotation marks:  "gothic imagination" "pathetic fallacy" "queer theory" "reader-response criticism"

Truncation: Add an asterisk * to the end of a term to retrieve results with multiple endings. For example: roman* will retrieve records for romantic, romanticism, romance, romantics, etc.

Boolean Operators can help you expand or narrow your search.

AND: (hermeneutics AND Ricoeur, autobiography AND "feminist theory," allegory AND "Neil Gaiman") Narrows your search so that only records containing both search terms come back to you.
OR: (female characters OR women characters) Broadens your search so that all records containing the term female characters as well as all records containing the term women characters come back to you.
NOT: ("romantic poets" NOT Byron) Narrows your search so that you get records about romantic poets but none that are about Byron.