- Use synonyms -- there are many ways to express a concept (teenager or teenagers or adolescent)
- Use truncation to get different forms of the word, for example teenage* will retrieve teenagers, teenager, teenaged, etc.
- Use quotation marks when you want an "exact phrase"
Another really powerful tool is to use the special features and the "controlled vocabulary" of the database. ERIC has a Thesaurus, which can help you identify the exact term used to describe a concept. It also has advanced search fields such as:
- Education Level -- do you want high school? College? Kindergarten?
- Publication Type -- i.e., Tests/Questionnaires, dissertations, Numerical/Quantitative Data, Teacher Classroom Guides.