Skip to main content

Database Search Tips: Boolean
Operators

Why Use Boolean?

Boolean operators connect your search terms together in a way that the database can understand.

Learn More:

AND

OR

NOT

Using Boolean in your searches

AND

The AND operator:

  • Use to connect different concepts
  • Requires all of the search terms to appear in the records you retrieve. 
  • Limits your search. The more concepts that you AND together, the smaller the search results.

Example:

obesity AND soft drinks

OR

The OR operator:

  • Use to join synonyms or related terms
  • Instructs the database to retrieve any record that contains either (or all) of the terms.
  • Expands your search. The more terms that you OR together the more records you will retrieve.

Examples:

soda pop OR soft drinks

 

NOT

The NOT operator:

  • excludes results with that keyword
  • reduces results

Example:

soft drinks NOT sports drinks

 

WARNING:Use NOT with caution. It could remove relevant results that discuss both the topics- soft drinks and sports drinks.

 

How to Use Boolean Terms in your Search

AND (Use to combine concepts)

Type in one concept per search box.

Use AND between the search boxes. The database will find articles that cover both concepts.


 

 

OR  (use with synonyms or related words)

Type in one keyword per search box.

Use OR between the search boxes. The database will find articles that cover either keyword.