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ENSC 499: LRES Capstone

Link Keywords Effectively (Boolean Searching)

Boolean operators are words you use to link your search terms together when searching for resources. 

Use them to increase or decrease the number of search results to find what you need

Boolean Operator Example Reason to Use
AND women AND military Searches for items that talk about both concepts together, and to DECREASE RESULTS.
OR women OR females  Searches for items that talk about either concept individually, and to INCREASE RESULTS.
NOT women NOT men To eliminate terms and concepts and to DECREASE RESULTS.


Advanced Search Tips


Truncation is a technique used to broaden your search. Truncation searches multiple forms of a root word to include various word endings and spellings.

  • Using an asterisk * at the end of a word will search all endings of that word
  • Use when there are multiple possible search terms, starting with the same root
  • The database or library catalog will return results that include any ending of that root word.
  • Examples:
    • cell*= cells, cellular, cellophane, cellulite
    • child* = child, childs, children, childrens, childhood
    • hospital* = hospital, hospitals, hospitalization, hospitality, etc.
  • Truncating some words can return irrelevant results. Looking for a good website on cats? By searching cat* your search will return results, including cats, catapult, cathedral, caterer, and so on. In this instance, search (cat OR cats).
  • Truncation symbols vary by database and website, but are most commonly: *,!,?


A wildcard is a character that can be used in a search term to represent one or more other characters. Substitute a symbol for one letter of a word.

  • This is useful if a word is spelled in different ways, but still has the same meaning.
  • Examples:
    • wom!n = woman, women
    • colo?r = color, colour

Find Like Terms with Subject Terms: 

  • Scroll down on the full record for the book you've found to the subject term fields.
  • You can click on these subject terms to find more on-topic items.
  • In Academic Search Complete and other databases, you can generally click on the subject term from the item’s full record to pull up a list of all of the items in the database that have been labeled with that subject term.