Skip to main content

Education: Getting Started

Getting Started

Welcome to the Education guide. Use the pages on this guide to learn about:

You can also visit these related guides for more research help:

Also, see the APA Education & Psychology page for insights to "help teachers manage behavior problems, motivate students, assist struggling learners, handle stress, support gifted and talented youth, and more."

Create a Search Using Commands

1. Isolate keywords from your topic.

2. Narrow your search results to include both of your keywords using AND.

"Nellie Bly" AND "investigative journalism" AND women

3. Expand your search using OR to find like terms.

"Nellie Bly" AND "investigative journalism" AND (women OR feminism)

Combining search terms with AND:

  • Narrows your search, reducing the number of results.
  • Makes the search focus more specifically on your topic.

For Example

A search for "Nellie Bly" yields 471 results results

A search for "investigative journalism" yields 6,922 results

A search for "investigative journalism" AND "Nellie Bly" yields 29 results

Combining search terms with OR:

  • Expands your search and increases number of results.

For Example

A search for "women's rights" yields 46,525 results

A search for feminism yields 97,260 results

A search for "women's rights" OR feminism yields 135,810 results

Combining search terms with NOT:

  • Narrows your search, decreasing your search results.
  • Tells the search to exclude certain terms.

For Example

A search for News yields 80,049,505 results

A search for News NOT Television yields 77,025,916 results

Use Quotation Marks to:

  • Narrow your search.
  • Combine search terms that are more than single worlds.

This shows the search engine that you want the terms to be found together. The search will look for exactly what you place in the quotation marks, so be sure there are no mistakes.

For Example

A search for Nellie Bly yields 518 results

A search for "Nellie Bly" yields 471 results

 

Use Truncation to:

  • Expand your search.
  • Give your search tool flexibility to find alternate endings for your search term.

Search engines match your terms to results; they will not automatically find an alternate version of it. Truncation tells the search to match the root of your term and gives it freedom to find whatever endings it can.

For Example

A search for Journalist yields 5,098,022 results

A search for Journalis* yields 5,778,205 results

These commands are called Boolean Operators.

Boolean

1. denoting a system of algebraic notation used to represent logical propositions, especially in computing and electronics.

What does that mean for you?

If you are having a hard time finding what you need, use the Boolean Operators outlined here to more efficiently search databases.

No matter where you are searching - the catalog, Google Scholar, a database you will want to use Boolearn Operators to refine your search to your specifications.

We are indebted to the Butler University Library's And/Or/Not box for some of the content displayed here.

Loading

Research Services & Outreach Librarian

Kelleen Maluski's picture
Kelleen Maluski
Contact:
Sarah Lawrence Library
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, NY 10708
914-395-2225
Website / Blog Page

Reuse this Content

Creative Commons License

Please feel free to use the content of this Guide as long as you attribute Sarah Lawrence College Library.