Before you begin your search in the library databases, you need to identify some good search terms to try for your topic. Take a look at the steps below to get an idea of the process:
Here's an example topic question with the key words bolded:
What are some of the best methods to help prevent child abuse?
Now we're going to think about synonyms or related terms for our concepts:
Now that we have some search terms, check out the Boolean Logic box below to see how best to put them into the database search boxes.
Watch the video below for a tutorial on how to formulate the best search terms for your database searches.
You can use AND, OR to make your search terms more effective and reduce the number of different searches you have to try to get all the relevant articles available.
Here is the general rule:
You will notice that some of the words below use an asterisk or punctuation marks. See the "Punctuation Tricks" box to the right to find out how to use these.
And here is what the search would look like in a database:
You can use an asterisk at the beginning, middle, or end of a word to create a wildcard substitute for any other letter, letters, or perhaps, no letters at all.
For example: We can use Prevent* to get results that use the words prevention, prevents, or prevent.
You can use quotation marks around two or more words to make sure your results show those words together in that order.
For example: We can use "Child Abuse" to make sure we get articles that specifically talk about child abuse (instead of getting results that mention "child" in one place and "abuse" in another)
Still don't understand how AND, OR, & NOT can help you with your search?
Watch the video below for a thorough explanation.
(Video credit goes to University of La Verne's Wilson Library)