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Advanced Search Techniques Getting Started

Learn about advanced search strategies for databases and search engines.

Why Utilize Advanced Search Techniques?

This guide describes numerous advanced searching techniques that can be applied in most databases and even in Google. Mastering advanced search strategies can greatly improve the quality and speed of your searches.

Advanced searching involves being more strategic in how you use databases and search terms. Advanced search strategies help you:

  • Save time: Efficiently locate information, saving you valuable time
  • Refine your queries: Craft specific search queries to obtain more accurate results
  • Access specialized information: Find niche or specialized content that standard searches may miss
  • Enhance critical thinking: Develop problem-solving skills and a deeper understanding of the research process

In this guide, we'll explore various advanced search strategies that will help you to maximize your research time. Whether you're seeking scholarly articles, industry data, company financials, or any other type of information, these techniques will help you navigate online resources with confidence.

* This guide was originally modified from a resource at Boston College Libraries.


Please note that while library databases tend to work more or less the same, the exact way a technique is executed in a particular database can vary. (It is also possible that some of these techniques will not work in the database you are using.) When first working with a database, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with its interface and to consult its help pages when you have questions concerning its capabilities. 

Questions? Reach out!