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.
Searching for Phrases
Searching for phrases is very simple: you put a phrase in quotation marks ("your phrase") and your search is narrowed down to two words together in a phrase.
Examples of Phrase Searching
Research in every academic discipline will sometimes require to search for phrases. Here are some examples in each discipline:
- If you're an education major researching the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act. you could search for "no child left behind" in library databases
- If you're a history major doing research on the Cold War, you could search "cold war" in library databases
- If you're a business major researching entreprenuerial ideas, you could search "business plans" in library databases.
Using Quotation Marks Makes A Difference
Putting phrases in quotation marks excludes words within the phrase. For example, if I wanted to search for critical race theory and I typed the phrase without quotation marks, I would get articles that mention race, critical, or theory, but not necessarily together as a phrase. There would be some relevant results that discussed critical race theory, but using quotation marks quickly weeds out what I don't need.
In this video, I searched for both environmental racism without quotation marks and then "environmental racism" within quotation marks. See the difference?