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Advanced Search Techniques Phrase Searching

Learn about advanced search strategies for databases and search engines.

About Phrase Searching

Searching by a particular phrase or word combination is one of the most precise ways of searching. This is done by putting a phrase or terms between quotation marks. For example, if you want to search a phrase like strategic plan, search it as "strategic plan" or, if you want to make sure the database searches Alabama Power as a single term representing the company name and not individual words, search "Alabama Power."  

Sometimes it is unclear whether quotation marks are needed and sometimes using them can limit a search too much. For this reason, it can be a good idea to experiment by conducting searches with and without them.

Phrase Searching Example

In the example, it is necessary to put market share in quotation marks to reduce the number of articles in our result list. This restricts the search to only articles that mention market share, all of those words and in that particular order.

A search conducted in ABI/INFORM collection database using the search string: (Tesla AND “market share”)