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Database Searching Tips: Truncation

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 Use Truncation?

If you would like to see all forms of a root word (ex: Christian, Christians, and Christianity), you can easily use truncation to look for them all at once.

How to use Truncation and Wild Cards


Truncation, also called stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings.

  • To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end.
  • The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.
  • Examples:
    child* = child, child's, children, childrens, childhood
    genetic* = genetic, genetics, genetically


Similar to truncation, wildcards substitute a symbol for one letter of a word.

  • This is useful if a word is spelled in different ways, but still has the same meaning.
  • Examples:
    wom?n = woman, women
    colo?r = color, colour


Please note: This trick does not work in Theological Journal Database or ProQuest eBook Central.

If you have questions about applying this technique to your search, Contact us!

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