Construct Your Search

Related: Research Tips, Research Tips for Nursing

Boolean Operators

Use with the library catalog and research databases. They also work with search engines.

Operator Changes Your Search Results Example
AND narrows search women AND heart disease AND diet
OR expands search diet OR nutrition
NOT narrows search diet NOT cookbook
* expands search prevent* finds prevents, preventing, prevention...

Too many results? Narrow your search

Use more specific terms to describe what you are looking for:

Use the specific term heart disease, instead of the general term health

Add more terms to your search using AND:

heart disease AND exercise AND diet

Tells the database that you only want items that contain ALL of the terms

Exclude words from your search using NOT:

heart disease AND diet NOT cookbook

Tells the database that you want everything that contains the words heart disease and diet but you don't want anything that contains the word cookbook

Too few results? Broaden your search

Use less specific terms to describe what you are looking for:

Use the broader term heart disease instead of the more specific term arrhythmia

Search for synonyms and related terms using OR:

heart disease OR cardiovascular disease

User fewer keywords:

Stick to the most essential keywords: heart disease

Bad results?

Think of different words to describe your topic

exercise, aerobics, physical fitness, physical activity, activity level, obesity