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Searching for journal articles

Quicker, smarter, more effective searching.

Searching for phrases

Click the Transcript button to see the transcript of the video above

When you type in a phrase, most search engines look for each word individually, then put the documents with all of the search words at the top of the results list.
Documents with only some of the search words come after and results with only one of the search words are right down the bottom of the list.

Often, small words will be discarded from the search - words such as in, of, the, a, with, won't be part of the search even if you typed them in.

However, you can force a search engine to find all the words in one block, as a phrase. Put the phrase in double quotes, such as "skills in time management".
Now the search engine will search for that entire phrase, for those exact words in that specific order. The double quotes are like glue holding the words together

Try it yourself

Type skills in time management, without quotation marks, into one of the search engines below - the Library's QuickSearch, Google Scholar, or Google.

Come back to this page and try it again in the same search engine, this time putting it in double quotes "skills in time management"

Look carefully at the number of results and what you actually get for the first page of results

Library QuickSearch - items on the shelves or in the Library's electronic collections and subscriptions

Google Scholar - journal articles and other material (you can link Google Scholar to the Library's paid full-text subscriptions)



Google - general search engine for publicly available web pages and documents



Check your understanding

Self-assessment quiz

How would you search for articles about the National Broadband Network?

national broadband network

This would work to find some relevant articles, but it might not be the best approach.

You might also find articles that talk about different national companies that provide broadband network services, or a national network of health clinics that communicate through wireless broadband.

"national broadband network" will search for national broadband network as a single phrase rather than individual words

"national broadband network"

Well done! This will look for the phrase national broadband network - this is what you want to search for.

"national" "broadband" "network"

Unfortunately, putting quotes around individual words does nothing useful. The quotations marks are only used to search for a phrase containing multiple words - such as "national broadband network"


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