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Literature & Authors

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 Literature

Phrase searching

Put quotation marks around words that you want to search as a phrase.

“Harlem Renaissance”   “Yellow Wallpaper”  “Route 66”




Shorten terms and add an asterisk * to search for all forms of the root word.

symbol* = symbol + symbols + symbolism



Boolean Operators

Use Boolean operators to refine your search results.


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

irony AND "Three Strangers"

“Harlem Renaissance” AND “women writers”

Plath AND metaphor

“Road Not Taken” AND symbolism



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

irony OR sarcasm OR satire

dystopia OR utopia

Chekov OR Chekhov

Put parentheses () around your ORs if other Boolean operators are present.

(irony OR sarcasm OR satire) AND Hardy

"Three Strangers" AND (irony OR sarcasm OR satire)


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

irony AND Hardy NOT "Three Strangers"