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CAPACITY Resource Guide

This guide was developed for the CAPACITY program through Emory University's School of Nursing.

Advanced Search Techniques

Use ANDs, ORs and NOTs
Combine your search terms with these connecting terms (called "Boolean operators").
Use AND to narrow a search. Use OR to broaden a search.


Truncation Symbol: Finds the root of a word (an asterisk in most databases)


Finds pharmacology, pharmacy, pharmaceutical, etc.

Wildcard Symbol: Allows for multiple spellings of a word...

Example: sul*ur

Finds sulphur and sulfur

Exact Phrase Searching: Use quotation marks

Example:  "persian cat"

Finds information on cats that are the Persian breed, not just cats in relation to anything Persian.


Be Aware of...


factual = correct = accurate

Different spellings

cellphone, cell-phone, cell phone, cellular phones, cellular telephones, mobile phone


   tears = laceration   tears = fluid from eyes


gluteal   or   gluteous   or   glut*   but not glute


Affordable Care Act instead of Obamacare


Type 2 Diabetes instead of T2D

Stop words

  Stop words are very common words that are automatically ignored by most databases, like

and, if, or, the, a, for, to, an, as, by

Use quotation marks if you need to search for a term that has a stop word in it, such as "Out of Africa" or "The Who".