Using Truncation for Expanding Results in Database Searching

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Welcome to this Information and Library Services’ tutorial on using truncation for expanded results in database searching.  This tutorial will take about 2 minutes to review.

Ever needed to search for a particular term, but because there were so many variations of the term, you didn’t know what to use?

Take the word manage, for example.  Variations include: manager, management, managerial, managing, and managed.

How do you search library databases for all those variations?  By using truncation!  By placing a truncation symbol at the end of a root word, you can search a database for all the variations of that word.

Many databases use an asterisk or question mark for the truncation symbol, but check the search tips in the database to be certain.

Let’s say, for example, that you are interested in researching how managers affect employee morale.  Type manag* in the first search box…

and type “employee morale” in the second search box.  Since we’re searching for the phrase employee morale, we’re putting quotation marks around the words.

Our search using truncation brought back 2,258 results.

If we had searched manager and employee morale, we would have retrieved only 546 results.

Be careful to not place the truncation symbol too far back.

For example, if you typed man followed by an asterisk in the search box, your search would bring back all the variations of manage, but also, man, mangle, manufacturing, etc.  Since many databases automatically search for plural forms of your search term, this search would also bring back men.

Truncation is a great tool to optimize and expand your search results.  Check the database’s search tips to determine the correct truncation symbol.  And choose the placement of the truncation symbol wisely, to avoid irrelevant results.

To learn more about truncation, as well as other searching tips and techniques, please visit our library web site.  You can contact the library 24/7 for help with any of your research needs.  Thank you for viewing this tutorial.