chat loading...
Skip to Main Content

  The library has limited services and changed hours due to the Coronavirus situation. Watch our Coronavirus page for the latest information..  

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.