In most databases, and in Google, enclosing words between quotation marks means "search for these words next to each other, in order."
In most databases, if you type the beginning of a word and then type an asterisk (*), the database will match any word that begins with those letters. For instance:
To truncate a word in LexisNexis Academic, use an exclamation point (!). For instance, politic!
Google does not have this feature because it applies truncation (and many other "fuzzy" search techniques) automatically.
In most databases, when you type a bunch of words, the system searches for records that include all of those words. If you connect words or phrases together with the word OR, database will match any of the words you type. For instance:
You need to be careful to either put the OR statement in parentheses, or in its own box on an Advanced Search screen. Otherwise you may get lots of results since the system will ignore most of your search query.
Here is a search that will find articles that contain the phrase Hurricane Katrina as long as they also contain the word corruption or the term mismanagement:
Here is a search that will be less successful:
Since it has OR mismanagement in the last box, it will retrieve all the articles that have the word mismanagement, whether or not they also contain the phrase Hurricane Katrina.
It's better to leave out minor connecting words such as with, during, in, etc. Sometimes databases ignore these, but other times they don't, and your search results suffer as a result. Compare the following two searches:
Just by removing the word during, we got a lot more good results.
For quick searching of library sources, give this a try. Available for Firefox and Chrome browsers.