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Criminal Justice

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

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

"Homeland Security"     "use of force"     "search and seizure"     "Port Huron"

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.

“racial profiling" AND Constitution

technology AND "law enforcement"

"community policing" AND crime


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

police OR "law enforcement"

"body cams" OR "body worn cameras"

prisons OR "correctional institutions"


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

"use of force" NOT tasers


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

("body cams" OR "body worn cameras") AND (police OR "law enforcement")

"domestic violence" AND (police OR "law enforcement")