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REL 3366: Advanced Studies in Western Religion: 4: Finding Articles

Create a Search Query

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 operators between your search terms (see box below center to decide which to use)
  • use the other search tools (see the box below right to see how to use them)
  • or...use the video on the left to learn to use the database to do the work for you!  Go to Start Your Research to try it out!

Combine Keywords

Research Databases do not work like Google!

You can't just type in your question. 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.

Search Tools


  • 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 more info.)