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Search Tips

  • Search terms are not case-sensitive, so it does not matter if you use lowercase or uppercase letters.
  • Entering singular nouns will also search for plural nouns and possessives (with some exceptions).
  • Entering search terms using either US or UK spellings will search for both (with some exceptions).
  • Multiple words set off by spaces will search for documents or images with both words.
  • You can use either quote marks or “curly brackets” to search for a phrase, but the results will differ in these ways:
  • Searches in quote marks (such as “heart-attack”) will be “fuzzy searches” – the search engine will search for plural and singular nouns, US and UK spellings, ignore symbols and punctuation, and allow wildcards.
  • Searches in curly brackets (such as {heart-attack}) will be exact searches. The search engine will look only for that exact phrase, including symbols or punctuation.


 * can replace any number of characters toxi* will search for toxin, toxic, toxicity and toxicology

 ? replaces only one character toxi? will search for toxin or toxic but not toxicity or toxicology


AND searches for articles containing both words

OR searches for articles containing one or both words

AND NOT searches for articles that do not contain the word that follows

W/n restricts the search to a maximum number (n) of words between the two words. Word order is not set. Example: Pain w/5 morphine finds documets where pain appears within 5 words or less of morphine.

PRE/n restricts the search to a maximum number (no) of words between the two words. Word order is set. The first word must precede the second word by the specified number of words or less. Example: Newborn PRE/3 screening finds documents where Newborn appears 3 words or less before screening. You can use more than one connector/proximity operator in a search if you use parentheses to separate the logic, e.g. (heart w/2 attack) OR coronary.


ScienceDirect is Elsevier’s peer-reviewed, full-text database of nearly 26,000 book titles and more than 2,500 journal titles. In addition to sophisticated search and retrieval tools, ScienceDirect includes content integrated from a variety of external sources in the form of audio, video and datasets.


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