In many databases you can use truncation. Truncation means using a truncation symbol at the word’s end to find words that have multiple endings, e.g. child* –> child, children, childhood. Truncation broadens your search. Common truncation symbols are * and ?. Truncation symbols vary by database, so check the search instructions to find out which symbol is used.
Check the database’s search instructions to find out which symbol is used!
In addition to truncation you may also substitute one or more letters of a word. This is helpful, if a word is spelled in various ways. For example, behavio*r -> behavior, behaviour
|Database||Wildcard to substitute one letter of a word||Wildcard to substitute 0 or more letters of a word|
It is always recommended to check the database’s search instructions to find out which symbol is used!
When you use the search term social media to find information on social media you may end up with thousands of irrelevant results.
This may be due to the fact that the search engine has not searched the words as a phrase but as separate words that are not necessarily adjacent to each other.
Many databases allow you to specify that the adjacent words should be searched as a phrase.
Check the database’s search instructions to find out how the database interprets the adjacent words and phrases!
Searching with the single words social media brought in Volter 4116 results, whereas the phrase search “social media” resulted in 970 records. Using the quotes you told the database that the search terms belong together and should be searched as a phrase.