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Sociology Graduate Student Resources: Search Tips

Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)

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

1. Use OR to broaden your search and to join SIMILAR terms.

  • Example: "academic achievement" OR "academic excellence"

2. Use AND to narrow your search and join DISSIMILAR.

  • Example:  "academic achievement" AND motivation

3. Use NOT to narrow your search.  This will omit items with that term.

  • Example:  "(academic achievement" AND motivation) NOT elementary

Boolean operators graphic

Phrase Searching

Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks to search for a phrase.

  • "higher education"
  • "academic achievement"
  • "substance abuse"

quotation marks graphic

Truncation

Truncation

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

  • fratern* will search for fraternity, fraternities, fraternal, etc.

asterisk graphic