Section 4 Concepts/keywords > Database choice > Exercise > Boolean Operators > Truncation > Exercise > Review > Exercise

Broadening a Search Using Truncation

When you truncate, you take the base of a word, add an asterisk, and in this way you search for sources that have any form of the word in them and thus you expand your search.

For example, human* will bring up sources with humans, humane, humanist, and humanity in them.

Be aware that truncation can result in "false hits," sources which contain your search terms but have nothing to do with your topic. For example, fund* might bring up sources with fundamental in them in addition to those with funds, funding, funders, and funded in them.

Putting it all Together 

For purposes of this paper, a search using boolean operators and truncation would look like this:

marijuana or hashish or cannabis
(since pot, grass, and weed are slang words for marijuana, using them as search terms probably won't bring up any articles in peer-reviewed journals where the language is formal)
medic* or therapeutic
(medic* will bring up sources with medical, medication, medicine, and medicinal in them)

legal* or decriminaliz*
(legal* will bring up results with legalize, legalizes, legalizing and legalization in them)
(decriminaliz* will bring up sources with decriminalize, decriminalizes, decriminalizing and decriminalization in them)

Here is what your search string with boolean operators, nesting, and truncation should look like.

(marijuana or hashish or cannabis) and (medic* or therapeutic) and (legal* or decriminaliz*)

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