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Sociology 201 Minority Relations

Search strategies

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 and Boolean Operators - Psychology Examples

Phrase Searching

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

"human trafficking"     "child labor"     "sex roles"     "equal pay"

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.

"charter schools" AND segregation

“sex differences” AND “verbal ability”

depression AND "college students"

"human trafficking" AND Michigan


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

"post traumatic stress disorder" OR PTSD

"child soldiers" OR "children in the military"

"child labor" OR sweatshops


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

graffiti NOT "American Graffiti"


Combining Boolean Operators

"civil rights" AND (lesbian OR gay OR homosexual* OR transsexual* OR transgender OR bisexual)

HINT: Put your OR terms in parenthesis () 

Advanced Search Strategies - Additional Examples

Phrase Searching

Boolean Operators - More Examples