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Film, Contemporary Actors & Literature Research

Advanced 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.

Search Strategies for Film Topics - Video

Watch the video below or scroll to the screen shots under the video for a demonstration of advanced search skills that work whether searching in the library databases or a search engine. 

Phrase Searching

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

"motion pictures"     "film noir"     "animated films"     "Marriage Story"

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.

“motion pictures" AND settings

masculinity AND stereotypes

metaphor AND "motion pictures"


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

movies OR "motion pictures"

"animated films" OR animation

"film adaptations" OR "movie adaptations"


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

graffiti NOT "American Graffiti"


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

(poverty OR "social disparity") AND (“motion pictures” OR movies)