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Writing 101 (Block): Search Strategies 1-3

1) AND/OR (Boolean Logic)

Use AND / OR to join search terminology.

  • OR - joins similar terms / terms that get at the same issue BROADENS
  • AND - joins dissimilar terms NARROWS

Examples: Using OR

  1. "confirmation bias" OR "attitude polarization"
  2. positive psychotherapy OR PPT
  3. teens OR adolescents OR "young adults"
  4. "academic performance" OR "academic success" OR "academic achievement"

Example: Using AND

  1. leaders AND "social skills"
  2. perception AND performance

Examples using AND & OR

Sample Search 

"filter bubbles" OR "algorithmic editing"



Question: What strategy might we take if Sample A doesn't return enough results?  How could we modify this search?


2) Phrase Searching " "

It is common to search for a specific phrase with "quotation marks ".  Most databases will recognize the using of quotation marks to search for two works together.

Examples: " "

  • "post traumatic stress disorder"
  • "limbic system"
  • "social anxiety"
  • "early intervention"
  • "domestic abuse"

Phrase Searching Narrows

  • social anxiety (52553 results in PsycInfo)
  • "social anxiety" (7013 results in PsycInfo)


3) Truncation *

Search for alternate forms of a work by truncating it and adding an asterisk *.

Examples: *

  1. trauma* > trauma, traumas, traumatic
  2. obes* > obese, obesity
  3. perform* > perform, performs, performing, performance
  4. therap* > therapy, therapies, therapeutic

Truncation BROADENS

  • "politic" (116 results in PsycInfo)
  • "politic*"(23,722 results in PsycInfo)