Boolean Operators allow users to combine concepts in a keyword search of online catalogs or databases.
OR is used to expand your search.
AND is used to narrow search results.
NOT will exclude specific terms from your search results.
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Resources like LISS will show you cited and citing references for any article you find in them.
Sometimes it's helpful to use a concept grid as you prepare to search an online database.
This is what a concept grid will look like:
- Start by identifying the concept(s) for which you will be searching.
- Can you think of any synonyms or variations for the concepts?
- Use Boolean Operators to link the terms together
- When possible, use truncation to broaden your results
* Note that you can also use parenthesis to create a search string:
(Concept #1 OR Synonym OR Synonym) AND (Concept #2 OR Synonym OR Synonym) AND (Concept #3 OR Synonym OR Synonym)
Truncation is the addition of a symbol (commonly the asterisk) at the ending of the root of a word. Using this technique will open up a search to include variants of the word.
Example: teach* will result in a search for 'teach', 'teacher', teachers', or 'teaching'
Keep in mind that truncation can give you unexpected results:
Art* could result in 'art', 'artist', 'artwork', or even 'artichoke'
Use the guides below to learn more about search techniques.