VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Drugs and Alcohol: Open Access

Search strategically with AND

A single keyword search means: "I want everything that includes this keyword."

methamphetamine

          

Linking keywords with AND narrows a search, provides context, and means: "I only want results that include both keywords."

methamphetamine AND epidemiology

            

Three or more keywords narrow the search to a very specific context:

alcoholism AND  motivational interviewing AND randomized controlled trial

           .

NOTE: Many of the search tools in this guide are Google Custom Search engines. With Google, linking terms with AND is not required. For example, a search for methadone epidemiology will be searched as methadone AND epidemiology.     

Search strategically with OR

Linking keywords with OR expands a search, and means:"I want results that include any of these keywords."

smokeless tobacco OR snuff OR chewing tobacco

 

Phrase searching

TIP: It is a good idea to search with and without quotes to see how results differ.

"treatment options"  - results will contain the exact phrase - but you may miss other potentially relevant sources.

 treatment options   -   results will contain the terms treatment and options, but not necessarily together or in that order.

 

Limit search by dates

In Google to limit results by dates, separate them by two periods without any spaces.

The example below translates to: "I want articles on methamphetamine and epidemiology published between 2012 and 2017:"

methamphetamine epidemiology  2012..2017