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LUT - Information Retrieval Toolkit

Tips for better searches

You can refine your search with a few easy tips: 

  • enclose the words you want appearing together as a phrase in quotation marks, for example "sustainable development "
  • truncate words to get wider results with one search, for example the search leader* will bring results with leader, leaders and leadership with the same search 
  • combine search similar terms (alternative search terms) into one search by adding OR between the words, for example (renewable energy OR renewable resource OR solar power)

Phrase search

If you want to search for an exact phrase (search terms appearing next to each other) use quotation marks around the words, for example "wireless network" or "renewable resource".  If you don't use quotation marks around the words, many databases will look for the search words individually, so that the search results will include material where the search terms are apart which may make the result irrelevant. The quotation marks also work in Google and Google Scholar searches. 

Term truncation and wildcards

Truncation, also called stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings. Term truncation is particularly useful for languages with case endings, as it allows you to include all the inflected forms of the search term in the search. In LUT Primo the truncation symbol is the asterisk *.

  • Example: using the search term leader* brings up leader, leaders, leadership, and any other word that starts with the root "leader" in the search results. 

Many databases and search engines including LUT Primo will include plurals in the search results automatically.  

Search example

For the example topic  Increasing the well-being among higher education students during remote studies the search terms could be combined in the following way: 

  • "higher education" students (wellbeing OR "mental health" OR "physical wellbeing")

Combining search terms

Boolean logic allows you to connect your search words together to either narrow or broaden your set of results. When you need more than one word to describe your search problem, you can combine multiple search terms with Boolean operators. The operators are AND, OR and NOT. Note that Boolean operators must be written in capitals.

AND -operator narrows down the search. If you combine search terms with AND both terms need to be in the result.  AND -operator is usually built-in search services. For example in LUT Primo the search "mental health" students is the same as "mental health" AND students. 

OR -operator broadens the search. It is commonly used to connect two or more similar concepts. 

  • For example if you want material that discusses cats, dogs or both animals, you would use the search cat OR dog. The results is likely to be a large set because any of the search words are valid using the OR operator.

Read more on Boolean operators and their use here