Problem proximity searching addresses: You want to find two related words close together – not at opposite ends of a document.
It is assumed here that you want the two words to be located within 3 words of each other (not counting “noise” words); so all examples will have the number 3. You may change it to another number.
In all cases, the proximity operator is placed between two words (or phrases if they are enclosed with quotation marks).
Examples of Proximity Searching
Most researchers seem to just sit down and enter words. Better searches focus on citations with two words or phrases which appear quite close – are related – to each other. Below are examples of search strings where the words or phrases are within 3 words of each other. (The distance may be changed by using a different number, and a phrase may be substituted for a word if the phrase is placed in quotation marks (“ “).)
|Database:||Letters/numbers (case sensitive):|
|EBSCOhost||First word N3 second word|
|Gale/Cengage||First word n3 Second word|
|ProQuest||First word NEAR/3 Second word|
|First word AROUND3 second word; OR: first word * second word|
|Jurn.org||Google search techniques|
|Bing||First word near:3 Second word|
|Yahoo!||First word AROUND3 Second word; OR: First word NEAR second word|
For hints and techniques to get more from a major online search engine, go to About.com and make a search for: search engine cheat sheets. Wendy Boswell, About.com search editor, says: “You can use these Search Engine Cheat Sheets to become a better searcher…” Scroll down to find links for Yahoo!, Bing, Google, and Ask, plus a special one for advanced student researchers, http://adulted.about.com/od/studyskills/tp/10-Search-Engines-For-Students.htm. Be sure to try the DuckDuckGo.com cheat sheet – lots like the search engine with the funny name http://websearch.about.com/od/enginesanddirectories/p/Duckduckgo.htm.
Directories of statistical resources/aids for topics may be found by going to the Directory Project. Here is a simple example for Statistics http://www.dmoz.org/search?q=statistics.
Google offers freely downloadable Public Data from 136 online resources. And, many sources can be located by making an Images search in Bing.com or Google.com. If somebody else has compiled the data/statistics, it probably will appear there. (Note though the date in its heading or at the end of the source when it was last updated.)
Researchers using either EBSCOhost or ProQuest databases should go to the left ribbon and scroll down to the word "Subject" once a search is made. Click it and its companion link "More…" to see a list of 50 (for EBSCOhost) and around 100 (for ProQuest) sub- or related subjects. These may be used to refine/focus searches.
Thanks to the Evangel University Library Staff for compiling these great helps!