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Using your list of search terms or keywords, you can now organize them into good search statements.When searching electronic databases (such as a library catalog or an electronic index), you cannot just type in your research question ("What are the effects of water pollution on aquatic birds?"). The computer won't understand what you are looking for. Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) can be used to connect your keywords and concepts to creat effective search strategies, like this:

AND: Water AND Pollution

  • Connects two or more words (or phrases)
  • Narrows the search
  • Will produce information on water and pollution
  • OR : Water OR Pollution

  • Includes either word (or phrase) in the search results
  • Broadens the search
  • Will produce information on either water or on pollution or maybe water pollution
  • NOT: Water NOT Pollution

  • Excludes selected terms (or phrases) from a search
  • Warning! Use Cautiously
  • Will produce information on everything to do with water except water pollution


  • Here are some additional search techniques that will help you refine your search...



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