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Using Wildcards

You can use wildcard characters if you are not sure of the spelling of your search term to expand your search:

  • Asterisks (*) substitute for a string of characters of any length
  • Question marks (?) substitute for a particular character


The asterisk is useful for matching terms with the same root or prefix. For example, if you are not sure how to spell zoopraxiscope, you can submit this query:


This query finds pages that match zoopraxiscope, as well as pages that match terms like zoophyte and zooplasty. Once you have found the correct spelling of zoopraxiscope, you can submit a new query to limit the search to the pages that interest you.

Question Mark

The question mark is useful to substitute for characters in a particular position in a term. For example, if you are searching for a document referring to someone named Fleiss but you are not sure if the name is spelled Fleiss or Fliess, use this query:


PsychSpider finds pages that contain either Fleiss or Fliess.


If you want to use wildcard characters, be sure not to enclose the term with quotation marks, because the wildcard would then be treated as part of the term.

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Additional Information

Tip of the week: Some terms may have more than one meaning in a query. "Depression" can be the illness or the time of the Great Depression in the US. To get relevant results combining your search term with other words might help (Tip 11).

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