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Boolean operators

This guide shows one how to get the most
relevant results
when searching for resources
PS: it will save...
BOOLEAN SEARCHING
SEARCH BOX:

This format probably looks
familiar…

STRUCTURED SCREEN:

It makes use of terms &
Boolean o...
A simplified example
is used
to demonstrate
Boolean searching
1.

Write down your topic in its simplest form.
Then break it up into CONCEPTS.

The impact of climate change on natural r...
2. Think of key words that describe each of your concepts

The impact of climate change on natural resources &
Concept 1

...
3. Construct your search strategy

Boolean logic provides the language one uses to structure a
keyword search.
The search ...
Use AND to combine different concepts:
“Climate change AND Water “

Water

Climate
change

•

• Using ‘AND’ narrows your s...
Use OR to enter keywords for the same (single) concept:
“Water OR Sea OR rivers OR Ocean”

WATER

SEA

RIVERS

•

OCEAN

•...
Use NOT to get rid of unwanted results:
“water

Water

NOT

rivers”

Rivers

9
The impact of climate change on natural resources & sustainable development

CONCEPT 1

CONCEPT 2

CONCEPT 3

Environmenta...
4. Type your search strategy
ONE SEARCH BOX: Use brackets to separate your concepts
(Environmental Change OR climate chang...
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Boolean searching guide

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Boolean searching guide

  1. 1. Boolean operators This guide shows one how to get the most relevant results when searching for resources PS: it will save you time too! By Fiona Jones, adapted by Linda Kelly l Academic Librarian @ UCT Libraries
  2. 2. BOOLEAN SEARCHING SEARCH BOX: This format probably looks familiar… STRUCTURED SCREEN: It makes use of terms & Boolean operators 2
  3. 3. A simplified example is used to demonstrate Boolean searching
  4. 4. 1. Write down your topic in its simplest form. Then break it up into CONCEPTS. The impact of climate change on natural resources & sustainable development Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3 4
  5. 5. 2. Think of key words that describe each of your concepts The impact of climate change on natural resources & Concept 1 Concept 2 sustainable development Concept 3 CONCEPT 1 CONCEPT 2 CONCEPT 3 Environmental change Water Sustainable development Global warming ocean sea river 5
  6. 6. 3. Construct your search strategy Boolean logic provides the language one uses to structure a keyword search. The search engine needs to know how your search terms relate to each other. In Boolean searching, one makes use of the three Boolean operators: AND OR NOT 6
  7. 7. Use AND to combine different concepts: “Climate change AND Water “ Water Climate change • • Using ‘AND’ narrows your search. It retrieves items containing all of the search terms or keywords that you specify. • The blue shaded area represents the search results. 7
  8. 8. Use OR to enter keywords for the same (single) concept: “Water OR Sea OR rivers OR Ocean” WATER SEA RIVERS • OCEAN • Using ‘OR’ broadens your search. It retrieves items containing any one of the search terms or keywords that you specify. • The shaded area represents the search results. 8
  9. 9. Use NOT to get rid of unwanted results: “water Water NOT rivers” Rivers 9
  10. 10. The impact of climate change on natural resources & sustainable development CONCEPT 1 CONCEPT 2 CONCEPT 3 Environmental Change Water Global warming Sea Sustainable development Ocean Rivers Water Environmental Change OR Global warming AND OR Sea AND Sustainable Development OR Ocean OR Rivers 10
  11. 11. 4. Type your search strategy ONE SEARCH BOX: Use brackets to separate your concepts (Environmental Change OR climate change OR global warming) AND (water OR ocean OR sea OR rivers) AND Sustainable Development STRUCTURED SCREEN: Environmental Change OR climate change OR global warming Water OR ocean OR sea OR rivers Sustainable Development Remember to keep track of what & where you search. For more info see the “Simplified Searching Example” guide & download the template. 11

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