Research LOOP » Research Process » Basic Search

Basic Search

man dancing

Use a Boolean!

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What's that? The latest dance move from Brazil? No. It just means using AND, OR, or NOT in your searches. Your research will go much faster if you can use a Boolean operator.

So, let your fingers do the dancing by using AND, OR, or NOT to improve your search results.

Let's see how.

 

Boolean Logic

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Click on each pair of circles in the Venn diagrams to learn more.

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Combining Boolean Operators

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You can use multiple operators within the same search to get even more effective and powerful results. Simply group your synonyms with OR, then combine them with another key concept using AND.

In the example below you can see how this works.

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Self-Check

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Try Truncation

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Another technique that can improve your search results is called truncation. Truncating a word means that you are able to search different forms of the same word at the same time.

Truncation requires the use of symbols, called wildcards, to replace word endings. The most common symbols are:

symbols

Using Truncation

Shorten the word to its root and add the truncation symbol.

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This will retrieve all similar, singular, and plural forms of the root word "Vege."

Truncation can save time and expand your search to include related words.

Using Internal Truncation

Replace one letter within a word using the wildcard symbol.

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Using internal truncation can increase your search results to include different forms and spellings of the same word.

caution tape

Avoid Truncation Overload!

Trying to truncate a word too early can retrieve many unrelated and unwanted results.

For example, when trying to search for topics related to "politics," think carefully about where to truncate your search term.

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Truncation in Action!

Let's see how using Truncation can help your research in the Academic Search Complete database available at your library. To watch the demo in a new browser window, click on the image below. 

Note: This tutorial was created by the University of California Libraries.

Truncation Demo

 

Self-Check

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Know Your Limits

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Databases have many options that can help refine your search. Most database searches can be limited by these variables:

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Quick Check

Understanding what limits are and how to limit your search can help you retrieve focused and relevant results. Drag and drop the colored boxes on the left to their examples on the right.

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Limits in Action!

Let's see how using Limits can help your research in the Academic Search Complete database available at your library. To watch the demo in a new browser window, click on the image below.

Note: This tutorial was created by the University of California Libraries.

Limits Demo

 

Self-Check

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Sort and Separate!

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Databases allow you to sort your results. Common ways to sort results are by:

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Why Sort?

There are many reasons to sort the results of your search differently. Sorting can save time and energy when browsing through your results for the best materials. Drag and drop the sort options into the reasons that are listed.

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Sorting in Action!

Let's see how sorting your results can help your research in the Academic Search Complete database available at your library. To watch the demo in a new browser window, click on the image below.

Note: This tutorial was created by the University of California Libraries.

Sorting Demo

 

Quiz: What Have You Learned?

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Note: This section of the Research LOOP is adapted from a tutorial created by the University of California Libraries.