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Advanced Search Techniques: How to use Boolean operators to find better scholarly articles

Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT

Hopefully most of us are familiar with using "AND" in between search terms, but did you know that you can also use terms such as "OR" and "NOT" in between search terms in order to improve your search results?


IMPORTANT: When searching the U library databases it is important that you either type the word "AND" in between search terms or else choose it from a drop down. If you simply type a series of search terms in the text box the library databases will treat those words as a phrase and will only return results with that exact phrase in the tile and/or abstract.



When you want to expand your search results the boolean operator "OR" can be very helpful. For example, you might try searching for children OR teen OR kids OR youth. The term OR will search the title and abstract and return results that have any of those terms.


The boolean operator "NOT" is extremely useful when your topic or search term may be closely related to another topic and the majority of the results you are getting are not what you are looking for. For example, one might search violence NOT war if doing a search on school violence in order to weed out the many war-related articles.

For more information on boolean operators there is a great tutorial at: http://fcit.usf.edu/connect/files/frames.htm Once at the web tutorial visit the module called "Advanced Searching"