Refining your search results when looking for information is easy if you know a few searching techniques. These search strategies work when looking for information from the library databases or Google.
Put quotation marks around terms you want to search as a phrase.
“law enforcement” “career development” “sports management”
Refine your search using Boolean operators. The three most common Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT, but there are others available.
Use AND to find material with both terms in them:
teachers AND salaries
“social workers” AND “job hunting”
Use OR to find material with either term in them:
(wages OR salaries)
(careers OR “vocational guidance”)
(“law enforcement” OR police)
(“performing arts” OR actors)
Use NOT to eliminate material with a certain keyword or phrase:
teachers NOT professors
Truncate terms to search for the singular, plural, or possessive of a root word.
teach* = teach + teacher + teachers + teaching
Combine terms to create your search string. Below are some examples. Always put your ORs in parenthesis to force the database to do that function first before the rest of the search string.
“teachers” AND (wages OR salaries)
(careers OR “vocational guidance”) AND (“law enforcement” OR police” OR “homeland security”)
anxiety AND prevention AND “college students”