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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.

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