Skip to Main Content

St. Clair County Community College Library

Biology 270 Environmental Science Prof. McFadden

Search Strategies

When searching for information, there are a number of techniques to use that will help refine your search results.  You can use these strategies when looking for information from the library databases or from a search engine such as Google.

Phrase Searching and Boolean Operators - BIO 270 topics

Phrase Searching

Put quotation marks " " around phrases to search the term as a phrase. Otherwise the database or Google may separate the words.

"climate change"     "fossil fuels"     "carbon dioxide"     "solar power"

Boolean Operators

Refine your search results using Boolean operators. The three most common Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT, but there are others available. The operators AND and NOT will narrow your search and OR will usually increase your search results. 

AND - Use AND to find resources with all of your search terms.

"carbon dioxide" AND "climate change"

“human genetics" AND "ethical aspects"

"bioengineered foods" AND risks


OR - Use OR to find articles with either search term in them.

"genetically modified organisms" OR GMO

benefits OR risks

"renewable energy" OR "sustainable energy"


NOT - Use NOT to eliminate terms you do not want in your search results. 

"climate change" NOT Antarctica


Combining Terms - Put parentheses () around the ORs if other Boolean operators are used.     

"carbon dioxide" AND "climate change" AND (laws OR regulations)


Advanced Search Strategies - More Examples

More Examples of Advanced Searching