Have you ever wanted to search for two or more words near each other in a title or abstract? Especially when search phrases or entering two words with AND yielded few or little results? This may be proved especially frustrating with PubMed, which does not have the option for proximity searching.
Proximity searching is especially useful when searching for concepts containing two or more words that may not necessarily always be found as a single phrase.
Unsure on how proximity searching best works with a particular database? Please do not hesitate to consult with a Mulford reference librarian!
At least 10 of the 80 Ebscohost research databases may yield good proximity searching . These databases, freely available to UT affiliates, include CINAHL, Medline, HealthSource (Nursing Editon), PsychInfo, Risk Management Resource Center, and SocIndex.
The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words).
Near Operator (N) – N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another regardless of the order in which they appear.
Example: television n2 violence would find television violence or violence on television, but not television may be the culprit in recent high school violence.
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
Example: James w2 Watson would find James Watson or James Dewey Watson but not Watson James.
In addition, multiple terms can be used on either side of the operator. See the following examples:
- (cardiopulmonary OR cardiovascular) n2 coagulation
Ebscohost Medline retrievals include
- Impact of retransfusion of blood processed in cell-saver on coagulation versus cardiopulmonary bypass
- State of cardiovascular and blood coagulation systems during prolonged exposure to extreme stimuli
- zika w8 (outcomes OR “treatment failure”)
CINAHL retrievals include
- Zika Virus and Birth Defects–Reviewing the Evidence for Causality. (abstract…Prenatal Zika virus infection has been linked to adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, )
- Zika Virus and Pregnancy
(abstract..,.maternal Zika virus infection is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes,)
Web of Science
NEAR/x (More at their help page)
Use NEAR/x to find records where the terms joined by the operator are within a specified number of words of each other. This is true even when the words are across different fields (as title and abstract).
Replace the x with a number to specify the maximum number of words that separate the terms.
If you use NEAR without /x, the system will find records where the terms joined by NEAR are within 15 words of each other. For example, these searches are equivalent:
- salmon NEAR virus
- salmon NEAR/15 virus
NEAR/n requests terms that are within ‘n’ words of each other in either direction.
NEXT/n requests terms that are within ‘n’ words of each other in the order specified.
cancer* NEXT/4 cell* NEXT/6 therapy retrieves:
“Interplay between ROS and autophagy in cancer cells, from tumor initiation to cancer therapy”
blood NEXT/2 cardio* NEAR/5 system* retrieves:
”…and vegetative nervous system, disorders of blood coagulation, cardio haemodynamics…”
pneumonia NEXT/2 outcome* NEXT/2 research NEXT/2 team* retrieves:
“pneumonia severity index ≥91, Pneumonia Patient Outcomes Research Team score IV-V or bacteraemic pneumonia…”
(clinical NEXT/2 (application* OR trial) NEXT/10 biomarker* NEXT/10 (treatment OR disease)):ab,ti retrieves:
“studies suggest that MPs may have clinical applications including utility as biomarkers, use in improving cardiovascular disease risk prediction
More examples at http://lib.colostate.edu/howto/others/trunc.html
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