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This is a guide to sources for the study of terrorism.

Search Strategies


Always think about different  ways to say the same thing.  Start with keywords to describe your topic, within results, read  the abstract and look at the subject headings to identify additional keywords to use and revise the search (if needed).
Retrieve too many results? Limit to scholarly articles, limit words to subject

Search Strategies: 
Start with keywords (place phrases in quotes), use connectors (or / and) and look for the subject headings specific to each database.

place phrases in quotes
"counter terrorism" "middle east"
"human rights" "national security"
"foreign policy" "homeland security"
"boko haram" " Qassem Suleimani"



use * for truncation
risk* = risk or risks threat* = threat or threats
terroris* = terrorism or terrorists intervention* = intervention or interventions
strateg* = strategy or strategies violation* = violation or violations







Use - or - to connect synonyms

Graphic showing the boolean connector OR using a venn diagram

counterterrorism or "counter terrorism"
policy or policies
"electronic surveillance" or "mass surveillance"


Use - and - to connect concepts

Graphic showing the boolean connector AND using a venn diagram

"border security" and (counterterrorism or "counter terrorism")
community and (policy or policies or program*) and (counterterrorism or "counter terrorism")
"homeland security" and "law enforcement"
"hostage taking" and negotiation* and terrorism


In addition, you can search by a known author.


Many databases also allow for proximity searching.

Information for the Ebscohost databases:

You can use a proximity search to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other in the databases. Proximity searching is used with a Keyword or Boolean search.

The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched, as follows:

Near Operator (N) - N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another regardless of the order in which they appear.

For example, type tax N5 reform to find results that would match tax reform as well as reform of income tax.

Within Operator (W) - In the following example, W8 finds the words if they are within eight words of one another and in the order in which you entered them.

For example, type tax W8 reform to find results that would match tax reform but would not match reform of income tax.

In addition, multiple terms can be used on either side of the operator. See the following examples:

  • (baseball or football or basketball) N5 (teams or players)
  • oil W3 (disaster OR clean-up OR contamination)


Information for the Proquest Databases:
NEAR/n or N/n