Proximity Searching

Another search technique is proximity searching, which can help refine your search especially if you are searching in a fulltext database.

Many search systems have special operators to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words of each other. Proximity operators include the words WITH, NEAR, ADJ (for adjacent to). Often you can specify the level of proximity between search terms.

For example, in the EBSCOhost search system, the proximity operators are composed of a letter -- N (for Near) or W (for Within) -- and a number (to specify the number of words):
guidance W4 degree will find:
"guidance and counseling degree"
"...guidance could affect the degree to which..."
because the word guidance is within 4 words of the word degree.
Not all databases allow proximity searches. Because all systems are different, it is a good idea to check the online HELP screens to find out what kinds of proximity and phrase searches are possible.

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