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Search Strategies

When searching for information, there are several techniques to 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.

"evidence based"     "end of life"     "palliative care"     "patient centered"

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 search terms.

“end of life" AND nursing

“end of life” AND Hinduism

diabetes AND "evidence based"


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

“end of life" OR "palliative care"

"evidence based" OR "patient centered"

"heath care" OR "medical care"


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.     

nursing AND (Jewish OR Israel OR Israeli OR Judaism) AND "end of life"

“college students” AND (“eating disorders” OR anorexia OR bulimia)

preeclampsia AND ("evidence based" OR "patient centered")