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Spanish Resources: Estrategias de búsqueda

This guide links to useful Spanish language resources and databases.

Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)

Boolean operators are words you can use between your search terms to either broaden or limit your search.

Use OR to broaden your search. For example, if you search advertising OR commercials, you will find articles that include both terms.

Boolean - OR


In contrast, use AND and NOT to narrow your search. For example, if you search advertising AND commercials, you will only find articles that include both terms.

Boolean - AND

And, if you search advertising NOT commercials, you will find articles that include the word advertising except for those that also include the term commercials. In Google, use a minus sign instead of NOT (e.g. advertising -commercials).

Boolean - NOT

Estrategias de búsqueda

Determine the key ideas and terms in your topic. Example: I am interested in the challenges and benefits of being a bilingual university student
Think of synonyms or related terms. "second language" / "first language"/ bilingual/ university / college
Select useful resources to search. Databases > EBSCO's Academic Search or search Melyvl
Construct a search strategy.  Start with keyword searching. Many databases default to a keyword search field.
Look for a phrase, using quotation marks. "second language"; "university student"
Join similar terms with OR college OR university OR "higher education"
Join dissimilar terms with AND

college AND bilingual

Truncate a term (usually *) Latin* (to search for Latinas, Latinos) Hispanic* (to search for Hispanic and Hispanics)

Additional Strategies:

  • Look for other terms and phrases to describe your topic from the results you find.
  • Depending on what you initially find, consider broadening or narrowing your topic.
  • Take advantage of "controlled vocabulary" e.g. descriptors, subject terms when they are available.
  • Some databases have "See related materials" links.
  • Limit your search if needed e.g. by date, by format, the field being search.
  • Examine the bibliographies for relevant materials.
  • Sort results by relevance if this is not the default.  e.g. In some databases the default is by most recent date.
  • Find a great article?  See who else has cited it (esp. in Google Scholar)