The keywords you use can have a profound impact on the results of your research. Using the “right” words will speed up the research process, while the “wrong” words can bring to it to a halt.
Before you can begin searching for information, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be easily be found by scanning:
Use AND, OR, and NOT to connect your keywords and tell the database exactly how you want it to search for your terms. These terms help you combine or exclude words in your search for more relevant results.
cross-cultural AND communication
ALL of the search terms.
psychotherapy OR counseling
|Results contain ANY of the search terms, but not necessarily all of them.|
java NOT coffee
|Excludes results containing
the second search term.
Truncation or wildcard symbols allow you to look for variations of words. They often broaden your search results.
Example: searching on sport* would bring up variations such as sport, sports, sporting, sporty, etc.
Note: The truncation symbol is usually an asterisk (*) but can vary by database. Consult the database’s “help” or “search tips” pages for details.
Use quotation marks for phrase searching, i.e. "University of Georgia"
Note: searching "social work" tells the database to look for these words in this exact order - this phrase, instead of finding social in one sentence and work in another.
This tool is designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. Cut and paste the search string results into the search box of a library database or search engine.