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Web of Science Help Guide

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

How do I improve search results?

No References or Too Few References

  • Look for misspellings in your strategy.
  • Use proximity operators (instead of quotes) to search for phrases that may be stated in multiple ways.
  • Decrease the number of concepts searched.
  • Try broader search terms.
  • Use the Related Records feature when you find a relevant article.
  • Remove terms that are unlikely to be used by an author.
  • Replace terms that are too general or too specific.
  • Increase the number of synonyms or alternatives for a term.
  • Use truncation and a wildcard symbol to pick up word variants.
  • Try a different database.

Too Many References

  • Choose the most specific or most significant key words.
  • Search for phrases using quotes to find the exact phrase.
  • Increase the number of search concepts that are ANDed together (learn more about Boolean operators).
  • Use fewer synonyms for terms.
  • Limit to Review Articles under Document Types.
  • Limit your search to type of article, language, current years, etc.
  • Ask for significant words to be in the Title of the article rather than using the default All Fields or selecting Topic (which searches for your keyword in the title, abstract, author keywords, and Keywords Plus).

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