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Information Literacy for First Year Students: Lesson 4: Use of truncation and parentheses

Information Literacy Programme for first year students. Start with "Home" and finish with "Unit 7: Information Identity" Assistance to enrol, click here Blackboard user


Truncation means to make shorter. 

After identifying all the possible relevant search terms, decide whether you are going to use truncation (*,?) to extend the search strategy. Truncation may be used to restrict the search to a word stem.

  • Example: Searching for politi* will find information on politics, politicians, political, politically. Do not truncate too early in the word, as poli* will also find information on police, polite, policy. Some search engines also uses wildcard searching, where you can use organi*ation to search for organization or organisation.
  • Example: Wom?n
  • Information on both woman and women will be retrieved
  • Middle truncation is especially useful to provide for spelling variations


Parentheses are symbols () or "" put around words to show what is inside should be kept together. 
Example: “conceptual art” will get different results from conceptual art. Using inverted commas to indicate a phrase will get fewer and better results.

Example of parentheses using brackets

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