What is Boolean searching?
In simple terms Boolean searching gives you the ability to dig deeper and more specifically when researching. You can use this technique in all searches, whether it be on a database or on Google.
There are three main operators that you can use in your search: AND, OR, NOT.
When using AND it will search for both terms you put into search box. For example: cancer AND lung. This means it will only bring up results that have both terms in it. This creates a narrower search.
When using OR it will search for either term. For example: cancer OR disease. This will bring up results that contains at least one of the terms, cancer or disease, creating a wider search.
- When using NOT it will exclude the term after not. For example: cancer NOT disease. This will bring up results that only have the term cancer in them, results that have the term disease in them will not show up.
Secondly, you can use parentheses () to help narrow or broaden your search results.
Example: (lung OR thyroid) NOT cancer
This will search for lung and thyroid but not include any results that have cancer in them.
Finally, you can use quotations "" when you want that specific combination of terms.
When searching databases, you will often find that when you search for two terms or more that some results will only contain one or two of the terms. This can be frustrating. If you want articles that include both terms or all the terms, you can do two things. Either put your terms in quotations, or make them into an AND statement.
For example: "lung cancer deaths" or lung AND cancer AND deaths
For more information on Boolean searching check out EBSCO's guide