5. Online Search Tips

Boolean Connectors

Boolean connectors like AND and OR help us combine keywords for an effective online search.

Adding "AND" between keywords will narrow your results to only articles containing both keywords.

For example, obesity AND children AND school lunches:

Using Boolean Connector AND

Adding "OR" broadens the search to find articles containing words that mean the same thing (synonyms). For example, obese OR overweight:

Using Boolean Connector OR

For a more powerful search, combine AND and OR phrases with parenthesis () to group words together.

For example:

combine AND and OR phrases‌‌

Advance Search Techniques

You can maximize your online searching power by using some of the following advanced techniques:

  • Truncation - Most databases allow you to search for variations of words by adding a * or ? symbol after the root of the word: 
    Example: child? = child, children, childhood, etc.
    Check the database "help" feature to find out which symbol to use.
  • Phrase Searching - Use quotation marks " " to search for two or more words in a phrase together. 
    Example: "childhood obesity"
    NOTE: Some databases or search engines do this automatically when you type words next to each other. Check the "help" feature if you are not sure.
  • Field Searching - Search for keywords in the specific parts of an article, like the title or abstract (summary).

    Field Searching