Open Academic Search Complete
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at the end of this tutorial.
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are using this tutorial for English Lab credit.
Boolean searching is a way of "talking to"
databases to help it interpret what you're
searching for and to obtain more relevant
results when searching the library databases.
The most commonly used Boolean operators
Using Boolean operators helps you focus
your search, particularly when you are using
multiple search terms.
Different databases contain information
pulled from different types of journals,
magazines, newspapers, etc. We
have the option to specify our results to
only Full Text Articles and Scholarly
(Peer Reviewed) Journal Articles.
We are going to use Academic Search
Complete to become expert searchers
using Boolean Operators.
By the way, using quotation marks around
a phrase tells the database to only retrieve
articles with those two terms together.
This is particularly important when searching
for proper names. Try entering George
Washington in the basic search box on the
right side of the page (databases are not case
sensitive so it's not necessary to capitalize
words when searching). Don't click the Full Text
Box this time.
at the top of the page. 45,856 is way
too many results! Without the quotation
marks each term is retrieved separately.
Let's try a search using quotation marks
around his name. Well that took it down
to 27,779 results - which is still way too
many! So now, lets try our hand at some
Try adding and president - That brought it
down to 2,244 results, which is still too many!
Try adding and hero. Finally, we get some
How many results did you get? Choose the number closest to your results as the database articles change daily.
Keep in mind that if you use Boolean
Operators within a phrase enclosed
in quotation marks, the operator is
treated at a stop word. Every single
word will be searched for... So we just
want our Quotation Marks around
"George Washington" not all the
Now, let's look for some current articles
about the TV series, "The Simpsons".
Enter the simpsons in the basic search
box. Once again, too many search results,
none of which look like they're about the
TV show. Let's add some Boolean terms to
our search. Try searching the simpsons
Search Box. Click the Full Text Box.
The Full Text Box is very important!
Remember to make sure it's checked
before you do any kind of search!
You must click it again before every
Or combines search terms so that each
result contains at least one of the terms.
An example of this might be "college
students" OR "university students"
What if we need an article about computer
mice? The boolean operator NOT can come
in handy here. Try a search using computer
mice not rodent. We're still getting articles
about experiments using mice. This is where
quotation marks are very helpful. Try
"computer mice" not rodents. Finally,
the database understands what we want!
How many articles did your search retrieve? Choose the number closest to your results.
Once again, we can use quotation marks
around phrases. Try typing "California
earthquakes" and predictions. Don't
forget the Full Text Box!
These results are much more promising! How many articles did you get?
Let's try another search. Type "global
warming" and "polar bears." The
quotation marks tells the database to only
return articles having both terms together.
You can see in your results list in the
Subjects: field under the article that most
of these contain both terms. If you just see
one of the terms listed, open the article, hit
Ctrl F on your keyboard and type in polar bear -
that will highlight every time the words polar
bear appear within the article. It is a quick way
to see how relevant the article is to your topic.
also. The more you practice using these
techniques, the better researcher you will
become. This will help you in all your classes.
The further along you get in your college
careers, the more you will be required to use
scholarly sources for research. Practice
using your new knowledge of Boolean Operators!
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