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Research Guides@Tufts

Advanced Searching Techniques

Search Operators

Web of Science processes search queries from left to right.  To specify precedence, enclose terms and operators in parentheses within your search statement.  You can nest and combine a search statement with the following operators: 


 To find records containing all terms [Example: blood pressure AND stroke]

OR  To find records containing any of the terms [Example: myocardial infarction OR heart attack]
NOT  Exclude records containing certain words in your search [Example: cardiovascular disease NOT heart attack]
NEAR  To find records containing all terms within a certain number (n) of each other [Example: stress NEAR/3 sleep]
  SAME    Search terms that must occur within the same sentence [Example: Tufts SAME Boston, biodivers* same conserv*]


 Example: (myocardial infarction OR heart attack) AND blood pressure

Truncation and Wildcard

Truncation and wildcard characters are used for more control in retrieving plurals and different spellings.


 To retrieve words with variant zero to many characters [Example: disease* will include diseases, diseased, diseasing, diseasedness etc.]

?  To retrieve words words with the replacement of 1 character [Example: wom?n includes women, woman]
$  Retrieves zero or one character [Example: disease$ includes only diseased, diseases ]
  " "  
 To search exact phrases [Example: " strict dietary restrictions "]

Advanced Search Query Builder

Click on "Advanced Search" to get to the Advanced Search Query Builder

Select field from the dropdown menu, add keywords (can utilize search operators), and then click "Add to query" to create search strings in the query preview.

Web of Science Advanced Search Tips

  • To search on the name AND, OR, NOT, NEAR, and SAME, enclose the name in quotation marks. Example: "Or"
  • Extra spaces around opening and closing parenthesis () and equal = signs are ignored.
  • Use SAME in Address searches, in Topic searchers AND works exactly like SAME.

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