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Online Learning Guide: Search Tools and Strategies

Step 1: Finding Keywords

Video from Northwestern University

Step 2: Using Boolean Operators

Video from the John M. Pfau Library at Cal State Bernardino.

Boolean (Operators) Search Terms

 

 

Explanation

Example

AND

Results (in blue) contain both terms Climate Change AND Cause 

OR

Results (all of both circles) contain either Climate Change OR Cause

NOT

Results (in Turquoise) contain Climate Change NOT "Natural Cause"

***Note: Some web browsers have their own search terms.

Search Shortcuts

 

Explanation

Example

PHRASE SEARCH

(Using Quotation Marks)

Looks for complete phrase exactly as it is typed

“human cause for climate change"

SITE:

Focuses on specific domain types

.com (commercia); .net (network); .org (organization); .gov (government); .edu (education)

site: .edu. “human cause* for climate change”

RELATED:

Finds similar sites

related: http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2013/may/most-scientists-agree-humans-causing-global-climate-change.html

LINK:

Finds sites that are linked to this site or have used this site as a reference

link: http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2013/may/most-scientists-agree-humans-causing-global-climate-change.html

FILETYPE:

Focuses on specific domain types

.com (commercia); .net (network); .org (organization); .gov (government); .edu (education)

filetype: .pdf “human cause* for climate change”

(Palmer, 2015, pp. 28-29)    

Palmer, E. (2015). Researching In A Digital World. Danvers, MA: ASCD.
© 2015 by ASCD. Reproduced with permission

Truncation and Wildcards

 

Symbol

Explanation

Example

Truncation

*

(Some databases might use: !, ?, or #)

Helps to expand your search to include different word endings or other possible combinations

Boy*= boys, boyfriend, boycott, etc.

C*t= cat, caught, consent, etc.

Wildcard

! or ?

Substitutes for a letter in a word.

M!n= man, men

Colo!r= color, colour