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Research Assistance: Searching

Using Boolean Operators

Are you getting ready to search a Database to locate publications on a specific topic?  Using the Boolean Operators (AND & OR) properly makes all the difference in how successful you will be in your efforts to find relevant documents. 

Hundreds of thousands of publications are published every month.  In the medical field alone, more than a few hundred thousand articles are published each month.  When doing research to retrieve publications on specific topics, you will be most successful when you:

1. Thoroughly identify your research topic first

2. Use the correct databases (or indexes) to search for relevant publications

3. Use a good search strategy that is appropriate for the database you are searching

4. Apply the correct Boolean logical operators (AND & OR) when searching

5. Apply the correct "limits" to your search strategy to narrow down the vast number of publications to the group of publications that are most appropriate for your research topic.  Limit by publication language, date of publication, age groups, etc., depending on the database being searched.

6.  Seek help from a librarian if you are having trouble with steps 1 throught 5

AND Operator -- narrows retrieval

Boolean Searching Tips

OR Operator -- broadens retrieval