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Using Truncation to Search


Keyword Searching Shortcuts

"Truncation" and "wildcards" are shortcuts in keyword searching that may help you save time.

Check the Help section of the search engine or database you are using to see if these options are available. Some search engines let you use truncation, while others also let you put wildcards in the middle of words.


To truncate means "to cut off." This tool is used to "cut off" word endings in order to find related words with different endings.

The symbol usually used is the asterisk (*).

For instance, information on children might be found by searching for:

Your results might be:

child's play, childbirth, childhood, childish, childlike, childproof.

Or search for:

Your results might be:


whalebone, whaler, whaling, whale.


Click here to go back to Choose Keywords.

Resources: Plan

Information Literacy eBooks listed by Research Step

Information Literacy eBooks alphabetical list

Research Videos listed by Research Step

Research Videos alphabetical list

Online Research Planner (worksheet)

Research Process Rubric (guide)