If you search a catalog or database and receive a large number of results, add a limit or additional keyword in order to retrieve a manageable and relevant number of results to review. At the same time overly narrow search terms can return too few results. One way of solving both problems is to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), which allow you to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.
For example, a search for hinduism AND ritual will return items that contain both concepts":
ritual OR practice returns items that contain either one of the concepts or both:
violence NOTdomestic returns items that talk about violence but excludes those that deal with domestic violence
An important strategy to use when searching for phrases ("sacred texts") or titles:
For example, "vernacular islam"
will search for those words in that order, finding, among other titles, the 2006 book In Amma's Healing Room: Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India
Truncation and Wildcards:
Most catalogs and databases enable users to search variations of keywords by using truncation (*) or wildcard (e.g., ?, $, !) symbols.
For example, one could search for politic* to find poltic, politics, political, politicking, and so on.
Wildcard searches are for differences within words: a search for wom?n will return results for woman, women, and womyn.
When linking keywords, it is important to "nest" like terms together within a larger Boolean search.
("south asia*" OR india*) (hindu* OR muslim* OR islam*) (women* OR gender* OR female*) will return results for the union of the three subject areas