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Search Strategies: Boolean Operators

Basics of searching any type of database - be it TigerCat, electronic resources, or Internet search engines.

Boolean Operators

Boolean Logic consists of three main logical operators or connectors: AND, OR and NOT

Boolean Operator: AND Boolean AND
  • Finds sources containing two or more ideas
  • The database will only retrieve items containing both words
  • AND narrows your search
  • You can use AND many times in one search
  • Example shown: books AND censorship

Boolean Operator: OR Boolean OR
  • Use OR when searching for synonyms
  • OR tells the database that the words can be used interchangeably, so it will retrieve items containing either word
  • OR broadens your search to include synonyms and related words or even unrelated words
  • You can use OR many times in one search
  • Example shown: books OR films

Boolean Operators: AND and OR
  • Make a complex search using both AND and OR by placing parentheses around synonyms
  • Example: (electronic OR internet OR web) AND (vote OR voting)


Boolean Operator: NOT Boolean NOT
  • Use NOT when you wish to exclude records from your search results
  • Example shown: books NOT politics
  • Be careful when using NOT.  The term you want may be present in an important way in results that also contain the word you wish to avoid.

Cynthia Peterson -- Research Guide Author

Cynthia Peterson
East Texas Baptist University
One Tiger Drive
Marshall, TX 75670

Jarrett Library - Room 110

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