Library Resources

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Search Strategies 2017-08-18T14:26:21+00:00

Research Basics

Search Strategies

Check out these tips for searching any database, even search engines like Google.

  • Try Boolean Search Operators

When you use a search bar, you’re asking a computer a question. You can make the most out of a computer’s processing by using rules to better define your search. Boolean operators — AND, OR and NOT — are some rules you can use.

  • ANDreturns the overlapping results between two search terms to narrow search results. For example, searching chair AND leather will return only results that include both terms.
  • ORreturns results that include one or more search terms to broaden search results. For example, searching chair OR leather will return more results having to do with chairs and leather.
  • NOTeliminates terms from search results. For example, searching chair NOT leather will return results about chairs, but none that include leather.
  • Try Phrase Searches

Perform a phrase search by enclosing a string of words in quotation marks. By doing this, you retrieve more specific results. To see how this works, try searching “fine press books” with and without the quotation marks.

  • Try Truncation

A truncation mark is a symbol used to search the many forms of a word. Different databases use different truncation marks, but the asterisk (*) is commonly used. In databases that use the asterisk for truncation, searching librar* will return results including librarylibraries and librarians.