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Paideia 112 Research Unit

Searching with Keywords and Connector Words

To get the best results in your searching, use both key words and connector words in what is called a search string.  Connector words (or 'boolean operators') produce different results based on specific rules of search logic. For example:

 

Operator Examples Results
AND


business AND ethics
cookery AND Spain

Retrieves records that contain    
ALL of the search terms.
OR


hotels OR motels
www OR world wide web
theater OR theatre

Retrieves records that contain
ANY of the search terms, but
does not necessarily include
all of them.
NOT


java NOT coffee
Clinton NOT (William OR Bill)    

Excludes records containing
the second search term.

Root Words

You can broaden your search and allow you to look for variations of words by using an asterisk after a “root word”  (called a truncation or wildcard symbol.)

  • For example, searching sport* would bring up the root word "sport," as well as variations such as "sports," "sporting," "sporty," etc. 

Such symbols may vary depending on the electronic resource you are searching.  You may need to consult the database’s “help” or “search tips” pages.

Further Reading

The Little Seagull Handbook

Finding Appropriate Sources, pp. 70-71

Searching Electronically, pp. 71-72

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