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Step 4: Create a Search String
Once you have your keywords, you need to combine them in a way the database will understand. You can...
- Put Boolean search terms between your keywords (see boxes below left and right for an explanation),
- Use other search tools (see box bottom right for more tools for searching databases), or
- If you're not getting enough results, use the video bottom left for ways to split your search to find more information.
Go to Start Your Research to try it out!
Search String Example
Now...how do you use AND, OR, and NOT while searching?
- Click on "Advanced Search" under the Start Your Research search bar on the main library webpage.
- Put in your keywords like this:
3. Not getting enough results? Remove one of your search terms. Or watch the video below for more help.
Research Databases do not work like Google!
You can't just type in your question.
BUT...you can combine keywords into a "question" that the database will understand. Using AND, OR, NOT between search terms will make your search waaaaay more precise.
- AND between two keywords will bring back less results - only those that have both keywords.
- OR between two keywords will bring back more results - all those articles that have either keywords.
- NOT between two keywords will bring back less results - only those articles with the first keyword, but not the second keyword.
OTHER TOOLS FOR SEARCHING:
- Use quotation marks to search for phrases - "endangered birds" will bring back results that have that phrase.
- Use an asterisk to get all words with a single root within results - type creat* and results will include create, creating, creators, creation, creatures, etc.
- Combine keywords using AND, OR, and NOT rather than typing in your whole question. (Look left for an example.)