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Writing & Composition

This Guide will show you where to look for useful writing, researching & composition information.

Magic! Database Searching Tricks...

magnetic poetry by surrealmuseKeywords + Connectors = Search

 Keywords = Search the fewest, most basic words in your topic. 

    Example (search words in bold): "Children who text frequently often turn out to be very good readers."

                 TIP! Scroll down below video for "More Search Tips."

"Boolean Logic" (0:27)

Use Boolean connectors like AND, OR, and NOT to specify relationships between words.

  Jump to our constructing your search guide for more tips and tricks.)

More Search Tips!

Did you find too many or too few results? Try these tips...


Put quotation marks around phrases to get more exact results.

Example "rap music"


Shorten a keyword and add a special character (usually an asterisk "*" or "?") to tell the database to find everything that starts with the characters before the asterisk.

Example: politic* will find:  POLITICS, POLITICAL, POLITICIAN

Note: Check the database help to see which truncation symbol it recognizes. (Most Pierce databases use the asterisk.)


Combine concepts and techniques. (Note: Databases search for what's grouped or nested inside the parentheses first.)

Example: ("rap music" OR "hip hop") AND censorship