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Learn how to develop effective search phrases.
Last Updated: Mar 17, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Nesting Print Page

Using parentheses



Nesting is a way to use parentheses to include alternate terms that may describe your topic in your search strategy. Often it is possible that a number of words can be used to express the same concept. For example, teenagers might also be described as adolescents, youth, teens, or young adults. It can be important to include these words in your search so that you retrieve the largest and best possible search set. To do this you would use the "nesting" approach.

Nesting is done by enclosing terms in brackets. The brackets are a way of keeping terms together so that they are seen as being related to each other.

Your search might then look like this:

(teenager or teen or adolescent or youth or young adult) and suicide

Note that the synonyms are combined using OR. This indicates that all the articles in the results set must have any or all of these terms in them. Nesting never uses AND to combine terms.

You may also use Nesting when you are interested in two different aspects of a topic. For example if you were looking for symptoms and treatments for schizophrenia, you might use a search like this:

(symptoms or treatments) and schizophrenia







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