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Research Basics: Search Engines

Use this guide as a library and resource overview. If you have any questions or doubts regarding the appropriateness of a source, ask your teacher or the librarian. Always cite your sources as soon as you find them!

A variety of choices

Boolean

Don't forget to use Boolean operators in databases that allow it! How do boolean operators work? Using the following words in uppercase letters can expand or narrow your search.

AND

AND will search for all items including both terms. For example: 

  • A Keyword search for "Roman AND warfare" will return items that on Roman warfare, but not items on Roman sculpture or guerilla warfare.

This is a great option if you are getting too many results or results that are not specific enough.  

NOT

NOT will return less results by returning items that only return one of the terms and exclude the other. For example:

  • If you are looking for information on Falcons, but keep getting information on the Atlanta team, try searching with "Falcons NOT Atlanta". This will eliminate every falcon result with the word Atlanta in it.

This is a great option if you are getting too many irrelevant results.

OR

OR will search for both terms at once. For example:

  • If you search for "doctors OR physicians", you will get all items that include either term.

This is a great option if you are not getting enough results or are not sure which term the author may have used.

Watch the YouTube video to the right for more information on Boolean operators.