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How Do I


Search Statements

To retrieve the most relevant results when searching in a library database, you will need to construct search statements.

A search statement is a combination of keywords, boolean operators, and truncation symbols that can be entered into the search box of a library database or search engine.

Boolean Operators

Boolean Operators are connector words, such as AND, OR, and NOT, used to combine your keywords in order to get more focused search results.  

Operator Example Results
AND legislation AND "campaign finance"; genetics AND autism Results contain ALL of the search terms
OR gender OR women; Burma OR Myanmar Results contain ANY of the search terms, but not necessarily all of them
NOT java NOT coffee;  Excludes results containing the second search term

 

Create a Search Statement


This tool is designed to teach you how to create a search statement using Boolean logic that can be used in OneSearch or in our library databases.

Concept 1 and Concept 2 and Concept 3
Insert your main concepts here
Search terms Search terms Search terms
List alternate terms for each concept.

These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.

Use single words, or "short phrases" in quotes

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

Cut and paste the results above into the search box of a library database or search engine.
 

Nesting

Use parentheses to "nest" synonyms or related terms combined using OR.  This tells the computer how to search your keywords!

Example:

  • (legislation OR law*) AND "campaign finance"
  • (medieval OR "middle ages") AND art

Quotes

Place quotation marks around a search phrase to search for exactly that phrase.

Example:

  • "Stem Cell Transplant"
  • "gender gap"
  • "transcendental movement"

Truncation

*?!+$

Truncation symbols allow you to look for variations of words as you search, and they usually broaden your results.

For example: a search for poet* would give results including the words poet, poets, and poetry.

Note: The truncation symbol varies by database; you can check the "help" or "search tips" page for details.  Most of our databases use the * symbol