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Research 101

Searching

Creating a Search Query

Most databases don't understand the natural language we speak and need help understanding what we're looking for. For this, they require a special set of conventions, including:

Quotation marks

Around exact phrases (e.g. "college of dupage")

Logical or Boolean operators

Connecting words that narrow or broaden a search to include only what you need. Examples: OR, AND, NOT

Wildcards and truncation symbols
(* # ? !)

For terms that have variant forms of spelling or different possible endings. Examples: child* for child, children, childhood, childish, etc.

Nesting

Placing terms in parentheses to indicate separate units. (Like an equation, (A or B) not C

Databases and search engines apply these rules differently, so check HELP files to find out how to use them.

Click on the links below for a demonstration of each strategy. Select either an animated movie or a static image.

Function

 

Search Strategy

Narrowing

 

AND

movie | image

 

NOT

movie | image

Broadening

 

OR

movie | image

 

Wildcard

movie | image

Combining

 

Nesting

movie | image

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