This is the "Boolean Operators" page of the "Search Strategies" guide.
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Search Strategies  

Basics of searching any type of database - be it TigerCat, electronic resources, or Internet search engines.
Last Updated: Jan 6, 2010 URL: http://guides.etbu.edu/searchstrategies Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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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.

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