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What is Phrase Searching?

Last Updated: Feb 03, 2017  |  11 Views

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Phrase searching is a search technique designed to help you limit  search results solely to records in which the desired phrase occurs. 

When you enter multiple terms in a single search line, without punctuation, most databases are designed to recognize each term as a separate search word and look for it individually.

Depending on the size of the database and the number of records in which your search words occur, this can result in retrieval of a large number of (mostly irrelevant) records. 

If you are searching for the phrase "internet neutrality" for instance, you may find that there are a substantial number of records containing the separate terms...

• internet,

• neutrality,

• internet and neutrality,

...but only a small number of records with the words internet and neutrality combined as a phrase. 

The phrase search technique tells the database to focus solely on retrieving records wherein your terms appear together as a phrase, excluding all individual occurences of the separate words. 

In most databases, enclosing your search phrase in double quotation marks ("example") functions as the search command for phrase searching. This also usually works for other searches, such as Google and Google Scholar. 

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