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What are Boolean Operations
Entering your keywords by themselves is less effective than combining them with Boolean Operators.
Connectors (Boolean) – a way of connecting words and phrases to narrow or broaden your search. Using AND between words will narrow a search, resulting in fewer hits. Using OR will broaden, resulting in more hits. NOT will exclude terms from a search.
For now, take a look at these short videos that will show you how to limit or expand your search results.
How Boolean Operations Work
If you want to discover the best search results, use Boolean Operations. Stringing your search terms together with different connectors will result in better search results.
- " " Quotation marks: Placing a search phrase in quotation marks allows you to search for that phrase rather than each individual word. The database/search engine will return hits that only include all the words within the quotation marks and in that specific order.
Give it a try! Go to your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Ask, Dogpile) and perform the following two searches:
Search terms: biographies on african americans (without quotation marks)
"biographies on african americans" (with quotation marks)
Notice the difference in results. Without quotation marks returned 2,570,000 websites. With quotation marks returned 46 website.
- AND, OR, and NOT: Use these words to connect search terms and search phrases. For more information, see the box entitled "Keys to Searching Success."
Keys to Searching Success
* Red, shaded portion represents which the search results are displayed
Both words must be present somewhere in the website/article
Results are more specific compared to a search using "or"
Either search term or both must be present somewhere in the website/article
Returns the GREATEST number of results
The first search term must be present and it must not inlcude the second term somewhere in the website/article.
Results are LIMITED
How to Search: Using "Quotation Marks"
How to Search: Using Connector Terms