Parantheses ( )
Let us assume that you want to look for articles about advertising to women. But you have also thought that marketing might be a worthwhile alternative to advertising in this search. You want to find articles that deal with women and advertising or women and marketing, and you know you can use your Boolean operators AND and OR. But look at this as an attempt at this search:
women AND marketing OR advertising
This is not going to work for you as the database will read this as: find me all articles dealing with women and marketing, or find me all articles dealing with advertising. And it won’t matter if you changed the search order to marketing OR advertising AND women. You would then get all articles on marketing, and another set of articles on advertising and women. The problem is that the database does not understand you want either of your alternative words coupled with women. The way to make the database understand is to use parantheses/brackets:
women AND (marketing OR advertising)
This will now find you articles on ‘women and marketing’ and articles on ‘women and advertising’.
PS: You only need to use the parantheses when you are constructing a more complex search using the OR and AND operators.
In the EBSCOhost database shown below you do not have to physically put in the brackets yourself. By typing the words marketing or advertising into one of the boxes, the database will understand that these terms are to be bracketed. When you get the list of results, have a look at the top of the left-hand column and you will see how the database has interpreted your search, and you should note that it has put in brackets for you.
Now let's look at Phrases - two or more words.