BOOLEAN OPERATORS for Finding Relevant Articles
AND – Use AND when you want documents that contain all terms to appear in your results.
e.g. women AND military
OR – Use OR when you want documents that contain either one of the terms to appear in your results.
e.g. youth OR adolescent OR teenager
NOT – Use NOT when you want to exclude documents that contain terms following NOT in your results.
e.g. women AND California NOT “Los Angeles”
“ ” Quotes – Enclose specific phrases in double quotation marks when you want documents that contain the exact phrases in your results.
e.g. “civil rights” AND women
“The Old Man and the Sea” - exact title
( ) Parentheses – Enclose terms in parentheses you want to group together.
e.g. (women OR female) AND (ethnicity OR race)
* Asterisk as wildcard
e.g. femini* returns all documents containing a word beginning with crim (feminine, feminism, feminism, feminist, etc.)
wom*n returns all documents containing woman or women
When searching, it helps to use "piece words" instead of typing in a full question. For example, if you're trying to study potential relationships between drug-use and economic class in the U.S., you wouldn't type "What is the relationship between drug-use and class in the U.S." You could try, and you might still find something, but you'll get more out of your search using keywords.
drugs, drug-use, addiction, class, united states, U.S., relation, cause, connection, alcohol, socio-economic...etc.
Notice some of these seem like synonyms? Using related terms helps expand your search. "Cause" is a specific type of relationship, whereas connection is another word for related. If you're having trouble finding things, the thesaurus is your friend!
If you find a relevant book in the catalog, look at the subject headings (under Subject(s)). Most books are assigned subject headings, and if you click on a heading, it will lead you to a list of books on that same topic.
If you already have a relevant book or article in hand, use its bibliography to find other sources on the same topic.