In addition to using the best keywords, you can increase the effectiveness of your search by using:
Boolean operators, AND, OR, and NOT, are used to combine your keywords.
AND is used to connect different concepts: "social media" AND "protest movement"
Using AND to connect keywords will decrease your search result numbers, or narrow your search, because the database is searching for sources that contain all of the keywords connected by AND.
OR is used to connect similar concepts: "social media" OR "social networking site" OR Facebook
Using OR to connect similar words will increase your search result numbers, or broaden your search, because the database is searching for sources that contain at least one of the keywords connected by OR.
NOT will remove any search results that contain a particular keyword: "social media" NOT Pinterest
Using NOT will decrease the number of search results, or narrow our search, because the database will exclude resources with the specified keyword(s) from the results list.
Enclose your keywords in quotation marks to search for an exact phrase:
"supermassive black hole"
Truncation allows you to account for words with variations.
The asterisk(*) is commonly used to truncate a keyword. Place the * where you would like to account for variation:
educat* will retrieve: educate, educated, educating, educator, and education
*caution will retrieve caution, precaution
behavi*r will retrieve behavior, behaviour
Click Next to learn more about applying these strategies when searching library databases.