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In searching, phrases are multiple words that you want the database to keep together in the order you type them. Most often, these are single ideas that are expressed with multiple words.
Examples: United States, cardiac arrest, tax return, neighborhood watch, genetic engineering, Valentine's day
Don't assume the database will keep your words together. You may get very different results than expected if you don't specifically tell the database you are looking for a phrase
How to search for phrases
To keep a phrase together, contain it in quotation marks.
Most often, when you type multiple words in a search box without quotations around them, the database is programmed to stick a boolean AND in between the words.
Nearly all databases use quotation marks to keep your words together when searching, but a very few use parentheses. So if you're not getting the results you expect, check the help screens to see what their process is.
Some databases offer the option of clicking a button to specify you want your words searched as a phrase.