Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)
- AND - narrows a search; Use to combine key concepts, for example: writing AND reading fluency.
- OR - broadens a search; Use to add concepts, for example: pedagogy OR instruction.
- NOT - excludes search term(s). Use to eliminate a concept, for example: children NOT adolescents. Use sparingly!
For more details, see Using Boolean operators.
Phrase Searching (quotation marks)
- Use quotation marks to search a phrase, for example: "expository writing"
- Searches predetermined subject of the article. Focuses on relevant results. Search ERIC Thesaurus for subject terms.
- Example Content Area Writing (Scope Note: Written composition or writing instruction for specific academic or vocational subject areas)
Truncation or Stemming or Wild Cards
Use a truncation symbol, such as *, ? or # to find several words with the same root, for example:
- child* (finds child, children, childish and childhood)
- writ* (finds writer, writers, writing and writings)
- behavio?r (finds behavior and behaviour)
N.B. Many library databases use an asterisk (*) for truncating symbol. However, Google Scholar does not.
Electronic records are organized into separate fields. A typical record includes the following major fields: title, author, and subject. Databases often have several other fields, such as keyword, location, date, and journal title. Most catalogs and databases allow users to search specific fields individually or in combination. For
- Use a title search for the fewest number of results
- Use a full text search for largest number of results