Search strategy

You can find more relevant information by creating an effective search strategy.

Get better search results

When you first start searching, you may end up with too many results, or results that aren't relevant. There are techniques you can use to find better results more quickly.

If you learn how to use these techniques with your keywords, you'll be able to control your searches and find exactly what you're after. They work best in databases and Primo Search.

Boolean operators: AND, OR and NOT

  • Use AND to retrieve results that contain both of your search terms.
  • Use OR to retrieve results that contain any or all of your search terms.
  • Use NOT to exclude irrelevant results.


  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase.
  • Group terms or synonyms within parentheses.
  • Use an asterisk to search for terms with different word endings.
  • Use a question mark to replace a single letter within a word.

You can find examples of how to use these in our guide.

See our Primo Search Help Guide

Other ways  to find information

Find more resources by footnote chasing and citation searching.

Footnote chasing

Use the reference list of an article to find additional resources for your research.

Citation searching

Find additional resources by locating articles that have cited your chosen resource.

Other useful information

Online Library Workshops

You can either enrol in one of our workshops or watch a recorded session.

Get help from a librarian

Contact one of our friendly staff if you need help.