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Planning a Search Strategy: Combining search terms

Combining search terms




Boolean consists of connectors which allow you to combine your search terms. Learning how to use these effectively will ensure you get the most appropriate results.

Boolean operators


Use OR when you want to look for alternative terms, phrases or synonyms. This will broaden your search


Use AND to combine your search terms when you want all of your search terms to be found. This will narrow or focus your search


Use NOT to exclude a particular term from your search. This will narrow your search

Example searches

Some examples:

   social media AND teenagers

   teenagers OR teens OR youth OR adolescents OR juvenile

   record NOT music


These can then be combined as below:

(social media) AND (teenagers OR teens OR youth OR adolescents OR juvenile)

The Boolean machine!

For a simple but effective demonstration of Boolean logic (acknowledgements to Rockwell Schrock), go to "The Boolean Machine" by clicking on the link below: