Three simple words can have a big impact on your research.
Boolean is a set of commands recognized by nearly every search engine, database, or library catalogue that:
The three basic Boolean operators are:
Be sure to always capitalize Boolean commands. Some databases only recognize the operators when they're capitalized.
Use AND in a search to:
The dark blue section in the middle of the Venn diagram represents the result set for this search. The number of results in that section are smaller (or narrower) than they would be if searching each term on its own.
Use OR in a search to:
Both circles represent the result set for this search. The number of results is larger (or broader) than it would be if searching each term on its own.
Use NOT in a search to:
The blue partial circle represent the result set for this search. The number of results is smaller (or narrower) than it would be if searching the term on its own.
Databases follow commands you enter and return results based on those commands. Be aware of the logical order in which words are connected when using Boolean operators:
Adapted and used with permission from Southern Methodist University Library.
Find different spellings for search terms. Colo?r will give you results with color and colour.
Find words with varied endings. Educat* will give you results with educate, educated, educator, education, educational, educates, etc.
Find the exact phrase, with your words in the exact same order as you entered them in the search. "Medication errors" will give you results with both of those words in direct order, instead of results with the words found separately.