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National College of Ireland


EBSCO Discovery Service LibGuide: Searching Tips

Search Strategies

  You can use a number of             different search strategies to       help you find the information       you need. The most popular are Boolean Operators, Phrases, Truncation, and Wildcards.

Search Tips Guide

This Search Tips Guide provides useful tips for when you are conducting your search:

Discovery Help

Have a question? Check out the EBSCO Discovery Service help page for more information. Or send an e-mail to the Library Academic Support Centre.

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are used to connect your search terms and enable you to broaden, narrow, and exclude specific terms in your search. 

AND: Use AND to narrow your search by combining your terms so that each search result contains all of the terms. For example, management AND leadership will retrieve results with both terms.

OR: Use OR to broaden your search by combining search terms so that each result contains at least one of the terms. For example: “human resource managementOR "human resources"  OR "HR management" finds results that contain any of these terms.

NOT: You can use NOT to exclude any terms so that each result does not include that term. For example, “human resource managementNOT "HR management"  finds results that contains the term "human resource management" but not the term "HR management". 


Using phrases instead of single word search terms will help reduce the number of results. You can search for a phrase by combining single search terms in quotation marks " ".

For Example: "human resource management"


Use wildcard symbols to create a search where there are unknown characters, multiple spellings or various endings.

The Question-mark Wildcard

Use the ? wildcard to match one letter. When you enter your search terms, replace each unknown letter with a ?.

For example: use organi?ation to find all records containing organisation or organization.

The Pound/Hash Wildcard

Use the # wildcard to find a term with an alternate spelling containing an extra character.

For example: use labo#r to find all records containing labor or labour

NB - This technique will not be recognised if used inside inverted commas.


Use Truncation when there are multiple spellings and various endings of search terms.

Enter the root of a search term and use an * to replace the ending. Using the * will retrieve all forms of that word.

For example: you could use manage* to find the words manage, managed, or management.

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