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Constructing Search Statements: A Basic Guide

How to construct simple statements for effective searches


  • This guide provides a brief introduction to the construction of search statements.
  • With efficient use of Boolean operators, functions and careful planning of your Search Strategy, you will be able to design effective search statements that yield fruitful results.

Overview - Functions

Function Use it to: Example Searches for
Parentheses (Nesting) Direct search engine to perform operations in parentheses first science AND (“elementary” OR “primary”) Records on science AND elementary, as well as on science AND primary
Truncation Search for keywords containing a common root word stud* student     studies
Phrase searching Search for phrases “peer review” peer review as a phrase

Overview - Boolean Operators

Boolean Operator Use it to: Example:
AND Search for records with all keywords plagiarism AND writing
NOT Exclude records with keyword review NOT literature
OR Search for records with 1 or more of keywords plagiarism OR academic dishonesty