Communication Institute for Online Scholarship
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ComAbstract Search

The default mode of search is a phrase search with synonyms enabled. Quotation marks are not required to indicate a phrase. Searching for chaos theory will only return records that contain those two words as a phrase (i.e., the words appear in sequence and in the order indicated). If you wish to search for multiple words but do not want them to be considered as a phrase, place the AND operator between each word. For example, chaos AND theory .

Searching for the phrase family violence may return unexpected results because there are extensive synonym sets for both terms. For example, children is considered a synonym of family and aggression is considered a synonym of violence. To disable synonyms matching, search using the advanced search form and check the appropriate option on the form.

Operators that expand searches

Wildcard searches. The asterisk (*) is a wildcard. Attach an asterisk to a search term and it matches any text that follows. For example: searching for "rhet*" matches "rhetorical", "rhetoric", "rhetoric of science", etc.
Conflation. Use the squiggle or tilde (~) character to find forms of a word. This is different than in wildcard searches. For example, searching for "post~" will find "post", "posted", "posts", "posting" but not "post-haste", "post mortem", or "postulate". These latter three terms would be matched with a wildcard search for "post*" but not with a conflation search for "post~". Beware, however, that there are limits to the capabilities of conflation searches. They cannot find all grammatical forms. For example, searching for "hold~", will match "holding" and "holds" but will not match "held".

Positional operators

"Followed by". Use elipses (...) between two terms to indicate that both terms must appear in the text, but the first term must occur somewhere before the second.
"Word proximity". Placing a number between forward slashes indicates that the search terms must be located within so many words of each other. For example, "organizational /10/ network" would return only those items that contain the word "organizational" within ten words of the word "network".

Boolean (logical) operators

"AND searches". The AND operator can be placed between two words or phrases and locates all documents that contain both the first word or phrase and the other word or phrase.
"NOT searches". The NOT operator can be placed between two terms, locating all items that contain the first word or phrase but not the second.
"XOR searches". The XOR operator means that you wish to find either one or the other term but not both.
"OR searches" . Locates all items that contain either one word or phrase or the other word or phrase.
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