Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Database Searching Tips: Exact Phrase Searches

This guide teaches you common search strategies that can be utilized within various databases to help you narrow down searches and find the most relevant resources.

Why Search for Exact Phrases?



Different databases interpret searches differently. A common variation is how databases recognize phrases. Some assume that words typed next to each other should be searched as phrases. Others automatically put a Boolean AND between your search terms, requiring that all the words be present, but not necessarily adjacent to each other. These searches can retrieve very different results.

How to Search for Exact Phrases

Type quotation marks around your search terms.

Ex: "limited atonement" or "John 3:16"

This will tell the search engine you want to keep your terms adjacent to each other and are not interested in results where these words do not appear together as an exact phrase. This is especially helpful for scripture passages.

Report a Broken Link

Report a Broken Link 

If you find a link that is not working, please let us know the name of the guide you are in and the title of the item you are attempting to open. You may email us at  (copy/paste broken URL), call, or let us know through chat.

We will update the guide and be very grateful for your help.