Phrase searching – “digital surveillance” = anything with the phrase “digital surveillance"
Truncation – this technique entails lopping off the end of a word and replacing it with a wildcard sign. Most databases use one of these: * ? $
Example: surveil* = surveil, surveiling, surveillance
Boolean searches -- these terms allow you to find what you need and also weed out what you don't need. Easy mnemonic: "AND is less, OR is more."
Example with AND: “digital surveillance” and privacy = anything that has both terms in the article
Example with OR: digital or electronic = any source with the term digital or electronic
Subject headings and descriptors – these will be your best friends in a database. They will lead to major concepts that you can search with and describe your topic.
Limit your search – if you get hundreds of results, use subject headings/thesaurus terms and “narrow results by” options to pare down your results.