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Library Research Tutorial: Adapted from Canvas Course

This Research Guide runs through the same information as the Library Tutorial course in Canvas. Use this guide to quickly access that information without needing to log into Canvas, and use it as a refresher for the main points in the Canvas tutorial.

Combining Search Terms: Boolean Operators

Boolean operators (and, or, not) can narrow or widen your search.

  • Narrowest: and
  • Widest: or
  • In the middle: not

Cats AND dogs: Any article mentioning both cats and dogs in the same place

Cats OR dogs: Any article mentioning either cats or dogs, not necessarily both

Cats NOT dogs: Any article mentioning cats without talking about dogs

Combining Search Terms: Punctuation

Use quotation marks, parentheses, and asterisks to make a database understand the intent behind your search string. 

Quotation marks: These words in this order

  • A set of quotation marks around a search term/key term indicates that you want those exact words in that exact order
  • That is, when entering "Alaskan husky," I am not searching for "Alaskan" and "husky," but I am searching for "Alaskan husky."
    • Academic Search Premier results:
      • Alaskan husky: 49 results
      • "Alaskan husky”: 17 results

Parentheses: nesting phrases

  • Use parentheses when using multiple Boolean operators in one search. Much like quotation marks link two words, parentheses link two search terms with one Boolean operator.
  • For example, if my key terms are "husky" or "malamute" as well as "Iditarod," I will enter the search as follows:
    • (husky OR malamute) AND Iditarod

Asterisk: word ending wildcard

  • An asterisk indicates that a word has multiple endings, and you'd like to search for all forms of the word.
  • Child: Forms include "children," "childish," "childlike," "childhood," and many more. If I search for "child*", the database will give me results for all forms of the word, not just "child."
    • Academic Search Premier search examples:
      • Child AND dog: 7,049 results
      • child* AND dog: 7,794 results
    • Another example: “puppy,” “puppies,” “pup”
      • Puppy: 4,616 results
      • Pup*: 87,689 results
        • NOTE: baby sharks and baby seals are called “pups,” so this search is not limited to dogs; for that, search “pup* AND dog”