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Sociology 20 (Xiong): Search Tips

Social Problems

Key Words

Extract your key terms from your research question. 

What are the most important concepts in this research question?

RQ: To what extent is racial profiling an issue for drivers?

racial profiling (one concept)

drivers (another concept)

Key Words graphic

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: "digital bullying" OR "online bullying"

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

  • Example:  "online bullying" AND students

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

  • Example: "online bullying" AND students NOT elementary

Boolean operators graphic

Phrase Searching

Quotation Marks / Double Quotes

Use quotation marks to search for a phrase.  These are terms you want searched together in a specific order.  Use quotation marks around phrase of two or more words.

  • "body shaming"
  • "hate crime"
  • "substance abuse"

quotation marks graphic