Boolean Logic . … and other search strategies that work!. Using Boolean Logic and Other Techniques to Enhance Search Statements .
… and other search strategies that work!
Because the Internet is so huge, searches will often provide too many results. When creating search statements you should take advantage of additional techniques to refine your search results.
Boolean logic, particularly the use of the Boolean operator AND, is the most important technique for limiting results in any database or search engine. These techniques include:
Combine AND and OR in a single search. This technique divides your terms into units like an equation, by using parentheses.
fruit AND(apple OR orange)
(fruit AND juice)AND apple
fruit AND(apple OR orange)AND juice
(fruit AND juice)AND(apple OR orange)
((fruit AND juice)AND(apple OR orange)) AND NOT banana
NOmedia AND politics OR election retrieves records that match "media that also match politics" OR retrieves records that match "election."YESmedia AND (politics OR election) retrieves records that match media that also match either politics OR election.
Truncation and Wildcard Truncation is a technique that enables a searcher to look for a word and any of its possible endings. This is sometimes called using a "wildcard" as it usually enables the searcher to insert a symbol as a wild card at the end of a word. This symbol instructs the computer to look for the root of the word and all alternate word endings or variations of a word and expands your search results
Use a symbol (like an asterisk * , !, or ?) at the end of a word to replace any number of letters (truncation). Example: teen*teen, teens, teenager, teenagers, teenagedUse 1 or more symbols within a word to replace 1 or more letters (wildcard)Example: wom?nwomen woman
Truncation and Wildcard
In most sarch engines, and in many databases, it is possible to search for a appearing next to each other. The most common method for doing this is to surround the phrase with quotation marks.
In most search engines, and in many databases, it is possible to search for a phrase, or two or more words appearing next to each other. The most common method for doing this is to surround the phrase with quotation marks.
“May the force be with you”
“presidential election 2008”
More keywords chosen at the appropriate “level” will give you a smaller and more focused list of hits, greatly reducing the possible documents returned.
Examples: new, planet, planets, discover, solar, system.
Many databases will offer additional methods for limiting and refining search results. Some of these limiters may include:
you can search only for full text articles
you can search only for articles that are considered peer reviewed
you can search only for articles that have been published during a specific time period
Use the helpscreens, and advancedsearch options
Remember that every database is different, offering different ways to create search statements or use controlled vocabulary. Each database will usually provide help screens to explain how to search effectively within that database.
TIP: Be aware that each database and search engine may use Boolean logic in a different way. For example:In Yahoo and other search engines you can use the plus sign “+” as a Boolean “AND” or the “-” as a Boolean “NOT”.Some search engines have pop down lists to help. In Yahoo, a pop down menu helps you to focus your search. In Google, you can use the advanced search feature.
EBSCOhost allows you to select the database that you want to search- so you can choose the one/ones that best suit your topic. These include:
Another feature of EBSCOhost that you might find valuable is the “Folder Option.” This option allows you tostoreitems in a folder for a future session. To use this option, you will need to create an “account” first. Or you can just email them to yourself!