An Online Tutorial Taking You Through the Steps of the Library Research Process Truncation

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Since some words have many different possible variations, it is nice to be able to conduct one search that will search for all these possible variations.  Truncation is a symbol used at the end of the root form of a word to search for all possible variant endings.  Different databases use different truncation symbols.  You can always use the Help screen in a database to look up the truncation symbol used in that database.

Below is an example of truncation where the truncation symbol is an astarisk..


This will retrieve the words hero, heroic, heroism, heroes, heroine, heroin, etc.

Using truncation can be useful for "covering all your bases," but at the same time you may retrieve results that are not relevant to your topic.  As in the above example you might get sources on the drug heroin.

Some databases will automatically search for variant endings for the terms you enter making truncation unnecessary.

Wildcards, like truncation, expand your search by searching for other forms of a word.  A wildcard is a symbol used to replace a letter within a word to find variant spellings or the singular and plural forms of certain words.  Again, different databases use different wildcard symbols.


This search will retrieve both the words woman and women.

Some databases will automatically look for variant spellings and the singular and plural forms of a word.

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