Truncation and wildcards can be applied to a keyword search in a database or search engine to broaden your results and allow you to look for variations of words.
The truncation symbol can be used in a keyword search to retrieve alternate word endings
- Use truncation to avoid having to think of and type out all possible variations of a word
- e.g. surg* will retrieve surgery, surgeries, surgeon, or surgical
- Use with caution to ensure relevant words are being retrieved; in some cases, you should avoid truncating a keyword too far to the left
- e.g. stud* will retrieve study, studies, student, students, etc.
- Truncation symbols can vary among databases:
- Ovid Databases (e.g. Medline, Embase, AMED, PsycINFO) truncation symbol is an asterisk (*) or dollar sign ($)
- EBSCO Databases (e.g. CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, Social Science Index) truncation symbol is an asterisk (*)
- PubMed truncation symbol is an asterisk (*)
- Web of Science truncation symbol is an asterisk (*)
- Check the help screen of other databases to find out which symbols are used