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Boolean Operators


Boolean searching involves connecting terms and concepts using the words AND, OR, and NOT in order to narrow or expand your search.

  • Use AND to connect different main concepts in your research question/topic and refine your search results (internet AND bullying).
  • Use OR to connect like terms or synonyms to expand your search results ("artificial intelligence" OR AI).
  • Use NOT to remove unwanted terms from your search results (biology NOT marine).

Boolean Operators: Using Connectors to Refine Your Search - the image illustrates the use of AND, OR, and NOT as noted in the previous text.


Search Modifiers


Quotation marks can be used to tell the databases to search for exact phrases, names, and multi-word terms. 

  • "artificial intelligence"
  • "Sigmund Freud"
  • "human immunodeficiency virus 

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

  • To use truncation, enter the base word and put the truncation symbol at the end (usually an *asterisk).
  • The results will include any ending of that root word.
  • Truncation symbols vary by database and website but are most commonly: *, !, ?
  • Example: child* = child, child's, children, childhood

Parentheses determine the order in which the database will search terms and Boolean Operators. 

  • Searching for supply AND (chain OR network) will return results that include the word supply, plus either the word chain or the word network, or both.
  • Searching for car AND ("artificial intelligence" OR AI) will return results that include the word car, plus either the phrase artificial intelligence or the word AI, or both.

Search Modifiers - The image illustrates the previous text on quotation marks, truncation, and parentheses.

Research Tips

Choosing a Topic

Identifying Keywords

How to Find Resources in NavigatorSearch