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EDD Dissertation Guide

Guide for students in the EDD programs writing their dissertations.

Keeping Track of Your Research Using My EBSCOhost

Many students find it beneficial to create a My EBSCOhost account to save and organize their research.  The following video demonstrates how to create an account and basic tasks you can accomplish with an account.

While your search history is available for review during a singular research session, it won't be there the next time you access the database.  If you want to keep track of your search history, you should log into your My EBSCOhost account before your begin. The following video provides an overview of how you can use the search history features.

When you stumble on a really good search strategy, wouldn't it be helpful to get updates when new articles are available?  With My EBSCOhost, you can setup an alert to be notified of new research that meets the criteria from you original search.  The following video demonstrates how to setup a search alert.

Is there a journal or magazine that covers your topic in depth?  With My EBSCOhost you can set up an alert that will notify you when new issues are published so you can stay in the loop on the latest research.  The following video demonstrates how to setup a publication alert.

Proximity Searching

Proximity searching is a way to search for two or more words that occur within a certain number of words from each other. The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The number cannot exceed 255.

The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched, as follows:

  • Near Operator (N): N5 finds the words if they are a maximum of five words apart from one another, regardless of the order in which they appear. For example, type tax N5 reform to find results that have a maximum of five words between the beginning and ending terms, that would match tax reform as well as tax that has been submitted for reform.

  • Within Operator (W): W8 finds the words if they are within eight words of one another, in the order in which you entered them. For example, type tax W8 reform to find results that would match tax reform but would not match reform of income tax.

In addition, multiple terms can be used on either side of the operator. See the following examples:

  • (tax OR tariff) N5 reform
  • oil W3 (disaster OR clean-up OR contamination)
  • (baseball OR football OR basketball) N5 (teams OR players)

This content was published in EBSCOConnect on May 20, 2019: 

Wildcards & Truncation

You can use wildcard and truncation symbols to create searches with unknown characters, multiple spellings or various endings.

  • The asterisk (*) matches multiple characters.
  • The hash sign (#) matches one optional character.
  • The question mark (?) matches exactly one character.

1. Asterisk Wildcard

The asterisk (*) wildcard, also known as the truncation wildcard, is generally used to find word endings. Enter the root of a search term and replace the ending with the asterisk (*). For example, type comput* to find the words computercomputerscomputingcomputation.

The asterisk can be used within words to find multiple characters. For example, a search for hea*one will match words beginning with “hea” and ending with “one.” For example, headphoneheadstonehearthstone.

The asterisk (*) can be used between words to match any single word. For example, a search for midsummer * dream will match the phrases midsummer night’s dream and midsummer day’s dream.

Search Term Example Matches
comput* computer computers computing computation computations computational . . .
hea*one headphone headstone healthone hearthstone heartstone heatherstone . . .
midsummer * dream midsummer night’s dream
midsummer day’s dream


2. Hash Wildcard

To use the # wildcard, enter your search terms and place # where an alternate spelling might contain an extra character. For example, type colo#r to find all records containing color or colour. Type p#ediatric to find all records with pediatric or paediatric.


3. Question-Mark Wildcard

To use the ? wildcard, enter your search terms and replace the unknown character with a ?. For example, type ne?t to find all records containing neatnest or next.

Question marks at the end of words or character strings are not treated as wildcards. They are automatically removed from a query. For example, the question marks in the search terms below are ignored when searched:

Search term with trailing question mark Interpretation
Appendicitis: is surgery the best option? Appendicitis is surgery the best option
Whose Justice? Which Rationality? Whose Justice Which Rationality
z??? z

To use a question mark as a wildcard at the end of a word, you need to put a # before the ? character. The hash before the trailing question mark indicates that the question mark should be treated as a wildcard to find exactly one character at the end a word. For example, a search for Monday#? will match Mondays but not Monday.


4. Combining Wildcards

Wildcards can be combined in a search term. For example, the following searches are allowed.

Search Term Example Matches
colo#r* colorblind coloring colorings colorization colorize colorized colouring colourings colourisation colourization colourize colourized colourizing . . .
p#ediatric* pediatric pediatrics pediatrician pediatricians paediatric paediatrics paediatrician paediatricians . . .


5. Restrictions When Using Wildcards

  • Wildcards are not allowed as the first character in a search term.
  • If there is only one leading character before a wildcard then, there must be at least one additional literal character within the first four characters.
    • f#r* (allowed because two literal characters are within the first four characters)
    • f??* (not allowed because only one leading character within the first four characters)
  • When using any wildcard in a search term, the plural or possessive forms and any synonyms for the word will not automatically be searched. For example; when searching for colo#r, the plural words "colors" and "colours" are not searched.
  • Wildcards do not work with Chinese (中文), Japanese (日本人), and Korean (한국어) languages.

This content was published in EBSCO Connect on June 26, 2019: