Skip to main content

2e. Search Strategies

Boolean Searching

Boolean operators (connector words) such as AND, OR, and NOT, create phrases based on rules of search logic.  

Operator Examples Results                                                                                      
AND


business AND ethics
cookery AND Spain

Retrieves records that contain ALL of the search terms.
OR


hotels OR motels
www OR world wide web
theater OR theatre

Retrieves records that contain ANY of the search terms, but
does not necessarily include all of them.
NOT


java NOT coffee
Clinton NOT (William OR Bill)    

Excludes records containing the second search term.  

Truncation/Wildcard Symbols

Truncation and wildcard symbols can broaden your search and allow you to look for variations of words.
For example, searching sport* would bring up variations such as sport, sports, sporting, and sporty.

Note: The truncation symbol varies depending on the electronic resource you are searching. For more information, consult the database’s “help” or “search tips” pages.

Tip!

Are you finding too much information or perhaps not finding enough? Use alternative, narrower, or broader keywords to vary your results.

Questions? Contact Hewes Library

general contact 309-457-2190 Email a librarian: reference@monmouthcollege.edu Call a librarian: 309-457-2301

Boolean Searching Visualized

 

 

 

 

 

Truncation Examples

Truncation
The “*” replaces any number of characters and will find all forms of a word root.

  • child* LOCATES child, children, childhood
  • therap* LOCATES therapy, therapies, therapist, therapists, therapeutic, therapeutically

 

Wildcard
Note: symbols used may differ based on the tool used.  Consult the help documentation.

Wildcard "#" replaces any extra characters that may appear in alternative spellings.

  • colo#r LOCATES color, colour

 

Wildcard "?” replaces one character

  • ne?t LOCATES neat, nest, or next, but will not find net
Hewes Library at Monmouth College | 700 East Broadway, Monmouth, IL 61462 | Phone: 309-457-2190 | Fax: 309-457-2226 | http://library.monmouthcollege.edu | reference@monmouthcollege.edu