Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library - Information Literacy Module: Tutorial 3: Use of truncation and parentheses

Information literacy for UJ students. Start with "1 Why Information Literacy" and end with "9 Writing & Referencing"

STEP 1: Truncation

Truncation means to make shorter. 

After identifying all the possible relevant search terms, Neo must decide whether he is 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 use wildcard searching, where Neo 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

STEP 2: Parentheses

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