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PolyU Library

Hotel, Tourism, and Events Management

Your starting point for research and study in the area of hotel and tourism management.

How to retrieve more precise results?

We can make use of boolean operators, exact phase, truncation, wildcard, and many other techniques to retrieve more precise results, so as to save our time and effort in searching.

Boolean Operators

AND combines search terms so that each result contains all of these terms. This helps to narrow our search.

e.g.: hotel AND Asia search results contain both hotel and Asia.


OR combines search terms so that each result contains at least one of these terms. We usually use OR to connect synonyms or similar concepts. This helps to broaden our search.

e.g.: tourist OR traveler search results contain either tourist or traveler or both.


NOT excludes terms so that each result does not contain the term that follows it. This helps to narrow our search.

e.g.: culinary NOT vegetarian search results contain culinary and without vegetarian.

Search order of Boolean Operators


Most databases (including OneSearch) will process NOT first, then AND, and then OR. However, we can use parentheses ( ) to override the order if we wish. e.g.:
tourist OR traveler AND hotel searches results contain either tourist, or traveler and hotel;
(tourist OR traveler) AND hotel searches results contain either tourist and hotel or traveler and hotel.


Exact Phrase, Truncation & Wildcard

Exact Phrase (Search with quotation marks " ")

  • Quotation marks are used to search an exact phrase. This helps to narrow down our search results.
    "knowledge sharing" search only the phrase of knowledge sharing and will not search knowledge creation and sharing (with additional words in between) or knowledge shared (terms not exactly equal to the phrase).
  • Exact phrase search CAN NOT be used with truncation or wildcards, e.g. searching something like "knowledge shar*"  will not work.

Truncation (*

  • Truncation is used to broaden our search by including various word endings and spelling. It can replace zero or multiple letters.
    Enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end:
    use manag* to search for management, manager, managerial and managing.
    Search for words that are spelled in a different way with the same meaning:
    use col*r to express both color & colour.
  • Truncation symbol may vary among databases. Check the help page in the database to confirm the symbol for truncation if necessary.

Wildcard (?)

  • Similar to truncation, but substitute for a single letter only.
    e.g. use wom?n to express Woman & Women
  • Wildcard symbol may vary among databases. Check the help page in the database to confirm the symbol for wildcard if necessary.


Use truncation or wildcard when you need more results; use exact phrase when you need more precise results. Below are examples on the number of results can be retrieved using different symbols.

  • search hotel manag* returns 587,723 results
  • search hotel management returns 478,712 results
  • search "hotel management" returns returns 34,027 results 

(in OneSearch as of 20 Apr 2019)


Keywords vs Subject Headings

Keywords are words or phrases in natural language that describe the search topic. Keyword search looks for the keyword terms in any field of the record (if not specified) in a database.

Subject headings are controlled vocabularies that describe the content of each item in a database. These controlled vocabularies are usually given by subject specialists or indexers. Subject heading search looks for the subject heading terms in the subject heading field of the record in a database. The field name may vary by database or platform, e.g., it's called Subject in OneSearch, and called Subject Terms in EBSCOhost.



Effective Search Statement in Advanced Search


Find more relevant works

Once you found a relevant article (i.e. a seed document), there are several ways to get more related articles from it. The most commonly used way is relying on the "related articles" or "recommended readings" suggested by the database. Below is an example in OneSearch:

Another skill is citation chaining. The assume is: If a paper citing or being cited by another paper, they normally share similar topics. Citation chaining can be further divided into Backward Chaining and Forward Chaining.

Backward chaining means locating other papers cited by the seed document. You may simply locate those papers from the reference list of your seed document:

One disadvantage of backward citation is: you can only locate the materials published before the seed document. However, you can locate more up-to-date materials by Forward Chaining

Forward citation chaining means locating other papers citing the seed document

You can make use of OneSearch, or other citation databases (like Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar) to locate those papers.



Web of Science

Google Scholar