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Boolean Searching

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Explains how to use Boolean logic when conducting research.

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Boolean Searching

  1. 1. Search Smarter Using Boolean Operators in Your Search
  2. 2. Why Use Boolean Logic? Why use Boolean logic? • Connects your search terms together to either narrow or broaden your results • Helps you piece together information to find exactly what you’re looking for • Yields more accurate results George Boole 1815 - 1864
  3. 3. Using Boolean Operators • Common words are used as logical operators AND = results meet both or all of the criteria OR = results meet at least one of the stated criteria NOT = results do not contain the specified terms • Boolean operators vary Be sure to check the database’s “Help” information or “Search Tips” for details about which term/symbol to use
  4. 4. Boolean Search Operator: AND • Narrows your search • Retrieve less results • Results will include both (or all) keywords • Connects unrelated concepts Example: “global warming” AND “sea level” butterfly AND migration
  5. 5. Boolean Search Operator: OR • Broadens your search • Retrieve more results • Results will include one, or the other, or all terms • Used to connect synonyms and related concepts Examples: kids OR children OR youth dog OR canine
  6. 6. Boolean Search Operator: NOT • Narrows your search • Excludes items by ignoring results that use the specified keyword(s) • Use sparingly! You may filter out relevant results by excluding certain keywords. Example: Alzheimer’s NOT dementia
  7. 7. Boolean Search Modifier: Quotation Marks “” • Use quotation marks to search for an EXACT phrase • Keeps 2 or more words together Example: “death penalty” Without quotation marks, the database would separately search for death AND penalty, not necessarily those words together.
  8. 8. Boolean Search Modifier: Asterisk* • Truncation: Shortening a word to pick up variants A form of the Boolean operator, OR Also called “stemming” • Common truncation symbol: * [asterisk] • Symbol should be placed at the end of the word root
  9. 9. pollut* adopt* alcohol* hum*- Avoid placing the truncation symbol too soon If you were searching for variants of humor, your search will retrieve unrelated terms like humble, hummus, human, etc. → pollution, pollutant, polluted, pollute, polluting, polluter → adoption, adopter, adopting, adopts → alcohols, alcoholic, alcoholism Asterisk* Examples
  10. 10. Boolean Search Modifier: Parentheses ( ) • Nesting: Group keywords together using parentheses to make a complex search • Search multiple synonyms (words connected by OR) at once • Do not use parentheses to combine keywords connected by AND Example: (children OR adolescents OR youth) AND depression (Hanukkah OR Chanukah OR Hanukah) AND tradition
  11. 11. Contact a Librarian! Call: 440-646-8183 Text: 440-941-7542 Email: reference@ursuline.edu Meet with a Librarian Questions?

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