McGoogan News

Search tips: Searching for closely associated words

By Cindy Schmidt

Perhaps you are interested in faculty surveys. Most relevant articles would contain the words

faculty, professor, professors, instructor, instructors, teacher, or teachers

— within one to four words of –

survey, surveys, surveying, surveyed, questionnaire, or questionnaires

Several of the literature databases licensed by the McGoogan Library allow the searcher to specify that two search terms (or groups of terms) be closely associated.

These include MEDLINE via OVID, MEDLINE via EBSCOhost, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and Scopus. To reach any of these databases, go to the library’s homepage, click on the “Literature Databases” button and then click the database link.

In OVID MEDLINE, a faculty survey search might be entered as:

(faculty OR professor* OR instructor* OR teacher) ADJ4 (survey* OR questionnaire*)

In EBSCOhost MEDLINE, CINAHL or PsycINFO, it would appear as:

(faculty OR professor* OR instructor* OR teacher) N4 (survey* OR questionnaire*)

In EMBASE, the search would appear as:

(faculty OR professor* OR instructor* OR teacher) NEAR/4 (survey* OR questionnaire*)

In Scopus, it would appear as:

(faculty OR professor* OR instructor* OR teacher) W/4 (survey* OR questionnaire*)

The proximity operators shown in the search strategies will retrieve records containing the search terms in either order as long as they are within 4 words of each other. Records containing either “surveyed faculty” or “faculty member surveys” would be retrieved.

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