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S371 Social Work Research - Jill Chonody: Choosing Search Terms

This guide is for the online class S371 taught by Jill Chonody.

Boolean Operators

And – (most narrow search) "And" will search for ALL of your terms/phrases within the each record. You will use this most often. Ex. domestic violence and child abuse - will yield results that talk about BOTH domestic violence AND child abuse.
Not – (excludes a term) Use to exclude a term you do not want to appear in your search. Ex. domestic violence and child abuse not molestation
Or - (broadest search) "Or" will yield ALL records on your search terms/phrases. Ex. domestic violence or child abuse - will yield ALL records on domestic violence, ALL records on child abuse and ALL records that are about both.

Choosing your terms

Specialized Searching Techniques

*  An asterisk is used when you want to search for words that have the same root. For example, psych* will bring up results with: psych, psyche, psycho, psychotic, psychopath, psychology, psychiatry, etc.

Group similar concepts together by using parentheses ( )


Generalized Search: diabetes or hypertension and African-Americans or Latinos

This search will retrieve everything on diabetes, information on African-Americans and hypertension as well as everything on Latinos, whether or not the articles refer to diabetes or hypertension.

Focused Search: (diabetes or hypertension) and (African-Americans or Latinos)

In this example, we have used the parentheses to control our query to only find articles about diabetes or hypertension that reference African-Americans or Latinos.

Search exact phrases or terms using quotations “ ”

Example: “breast cancer”

Because of the quotations, the exact phrase, breast cancer, will appear exactly.