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Writing 001 (Pravin): Search Tips

Academic Writing

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

Search Tips

Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks to search for a phrase

  • "affirmative action"
  • "social media"
  • "political correctness"

Truncation

Use a symbol (* is the most common) to look for variant endings of a word

  • educat* will search for education, educator, educating, etc.
  • colleg* finds college, collegium, collegial
  • politic* will search for politic, politics, political, politicly, etc.

Some databases also allow you to use a symbol at the beginning or in the middle of a word

  • col*r will search for color or colour
  • *politic will search overpolitic, prepolitic, pseudopolitic, etc.

Accessing Full-Text

When looking at articles in a database, full-text may be immediately available via a PDF or HTML page. If not, use the UCeLinks button. 

Here's an example of an article you would need to use UC-eLinks to get the full text:

Improving Underperforming Schools

If UC-eLinks doesn't give you any options to read the full-text online, you can Interlibrary Loan (ILL) the item using your UCMnetID. Here's an example of an article you would need to ILL:

Human Services Professionals' Awareness of Human Trafficking