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How to do Research - Central Indiana: Search Strategies

Phrases

Using quotation marks around a phrase searches for those keywords in the order you typed them in instead of seperately.

Example

"global warming"

will only find sources that mention global warming, whereas

global and warming

will find you sources that mention both words, regardless of whether they are next to each other in the text.

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are terms which help you search databases for specific information and assist you in getting what you need in an efficient and timely manner.

  • AND - combines terms or ideas and narrows your search
  • OR - expands your options and broadens your search
  • NOT - limits your search by excluding certain terms or ideas

Connectors

Always connect keywords with either AND, OR, or NOT.

  • Use AND to make sure that all of the keywords will be present in the sources found.  Example: "global warming" AND animals AND arctic
  • Use OR to make sure that any one of the keywords will be present in the sources found.  Example: animals OR wildlife OR fauna
  • Use NOT to make sure that any source that includes the word will not be found.  Example: "global warming" NOT Gore

See the short video below for a more detailed explanation.

Boolean Operators

This video provides a basic explanation of how to use Boolean operators in database searching; produced by a librarian at Shurz Library, IU South Bend.

Truncation

Tip: Use a truncation symbol to find words with variant endings, including plurals.

Many databases (such as EBSCOhost) use the * as the truncation symbol, whereas IvyCat uses a question mark.

Example:

In EBSCOhost, climat* will find climate, climates, climatic, etc.

In IvyCat, immigra? will find immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigrated, etc.

Put it all together

You can combine connectors, truncation, and phrases in one search.

Example:

("global warming" OR "climate change")

AND

(animal* or wildlife or fauna)

AND

arctic