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Web of Science Help Guide

Information about how to search Web of Science (WoS).


1. Enter your terms

  • Review the Writer's Guide on How to Write a Research Question to learn more about structuring your question and identifying your key concepts.
  • Select the All Fields drop-down menu and select the field most appropriate for your keywords (e.g., Author if searching an author's name) 
    • Most researchers will find the Topic search field most appropriate because it searches the title, abstract, author keywords, and Keywords Plus.
  • Type your search terms into the search box. 
  • For search terms with multiple words, consider using quotes to find the exact phrase so WoS does not separate your search terms and automatically insert an AND Boolean operator between each word of the phrase.
  • Use the asterisk (*) to search word roots and alternate spellings: 
    • Root word example: transplant* retrieves transplant, transplants, or transplantation.
    • Alternate spelling example: encyclop*dia will retrieve the British spelling encyclopædia and encyclopaedia.
    • Learn more about wildcards from Web of Science.

2. Limit your search

  • Narrow your search to a lower number of more precise results by selecting options such as Document Types (e.g., Article, Meeting Abstract, etc.), Funding Agencies, Language, etc. from the options available in the left column next to the Search Results. 
  • Refine your search.

3. Combining Sets/Search History

  • Click on your search query at the top of the webpage to edit your search and combine searches.
    • Edit in the window that pops up or
    • Click Advanced Search to combine your searches from your search history. To do so, you may enter the search numbers in the Query Preview box or you may check the boxes next to the searches you wish to combine and click Combine Sets to combine with the Boolean operators AND or OR.
      • E.g., 1 AND 2 tells the database that at least one term from your first search and from your second search must be in every retrieved result.
      • E.g., 1 OR 2 tells the database that a keyword from any of your searches must be in every retrieved result.

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