Search technique that makes things easier

When searching in academic search services, you will recognise search methods you have used in your everyday information searches.

For example, when you search for books in an internet bookshop, you can restrict the search to a subject or year of publication. This also works in the library's own search tool Primo. It is easy to search but you may find it difficult to search more precisely.

» Mer information om hur du söker och begränsar i Primo

As you become more accustomed to academic information searches and start using scholarly databases, you have more opportunities to search on a more qualified level. This gives you a better ability to pinpoint and control your searches.

The following are common search techniques

Phrase search

  • A phrase search means that you put several words together to a phrase for your search
  • You often do this by putting quotation marks around the words
  • One example: "social media"

Boolean operators

  • There are three different ones: AND, OR, NOT
  • The most common is AND. If you use AND, you only get matches for documents that contain both words.

For example, in Google and Primo, you do not need to print AND, it is added automatically.

  • For example, if you search for "social unrest" AND "social media," both search terms must be in the search results.


  • Means to search for the beginning of a word. Often a star is used to truncate.
  • An example: Rebel* gives matches for everything that begins with that word, such as rebel, rebellion, rebelling etc. A search service like Google searches automatically for word variants, in databases you usually need to truncate yourself.