Answered By: APUS Librarians
Last Updated: Sep 22, 2022     Views: 6723

Phrase searching narrows your search results by allowing you to define precisely how you want the words to appear.

For example, if you are searching for information on food insecurity then you are probably looking for those two words to appear right next to each other, with no other words in between, in the text of the document.

To make sure that the database searches this correctly you can put quotation marks around your search term and force the database to search this as a phrase.  This is helpful if you need find an exact phrase (2 or more words together), an exact title or quotation


primo phrase searching


Compare these two searches in Primo:

Most Useful For:

  • Finding highly relevant information on a topic--allows users to narrow down results based on exact phrasing of keywords or topic.
  • Searching for the title of a book or other resource, a person or place name, etc.


  • May miss relevant resources if the phrase searched for is not used in the article exactly as printed.
  • Some databases automatically apply phrase searching--view online search tips for individual databases before using phrase searching.

See Also:

Related Topics


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