To maximize your time and effectiveness in the research process, take advantage of some of the following search techniques that can be applied to many databases, including article databases, the library catalog, and commercial search engines.
Boolean searching involves connecting terms and concepts using the words "and", "or" and "not" in order to narrow or expand your search. If you use a phrase such as children with cancer, a database will most often look for that as a phrase and thus reduce the number of items significantly because it has to find those 3 words in a row. Therefore, you would want to use children and cancer instead because the database will look for those words anywhere in the record.
|Boolean Operator||Example||Reason to Use|
|AND||women AND military||To find items that have both terms and to DECREASE the number of items found.|
|OR||university OR college||Use for synonyms and to INCREASE the number of items found.|
|NOT||windows NOT Microsoft||
To eliminate terms and concepts and to DECREASE the number of items found.
Truncation is a technique used to broaden your search. Truncation searches multiple forms of a root word to include various word endings and spellings.
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.