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EDU 318 (Davis): Linking Keywords

Dr. Davis wants you to include at least 5 scholarly sources. This guide discusses what that means and where to look.

Searching with Boolean Operators

Using AND in a search is a way link two (or more) words or phrases to narrow your results. This means you'll get fewer results. It is a good strategy to use if you're getting too many irrelevant results.

 Use this format: ______________ AND __________________

Example: teacher shortage AND South Carolina

You're telling the database that the results must have BOTH of these terms. If you add another AND _____________, then your results would have to contain all three terms. Therefore, you would get fewer results, but all of these results would be highly relevant.

 

Here's another way to think about it:

AND only gives you articles where your search terms overlap. See the Venn Diagrams below. The results you would get from your search are shaded in.

Search: Teacher Shortage and South Carolina

This search only retrieves results that have both teacher shortage and South Carolina.

Search: Teacher Shortage AND South Carolina AND Science

This search would only retrieve results that have all three keywords: teacher shortage, South Carolina, and science.

Using OR broadens your search. This means you'll get more results. It is a good strategy to use if you're not getting enough results.

 Use this format: ______________ OR __________________

Example: teacher shortage OR retention rates

You're telling the database that the results must have EITHER of these terms, it doesn't matter which one. If you add another OR _____________, then your results could contain any of the three terms. Therefore, you would get more results.

 

Here's another way to think about it:

OR gives you articles where one of your keywords appears, even if the article has nothing to do with your other keyword. See the Venn Diagrams below. The results you would get from your search are shaded in.

Search: Teacher Shortage or Retention Rates

This search retrieves results with teacher shortage, with retention rates, and with both.

Search: Teacher Shortage or Retention Rates or Title 1 Schools

This search retrieves results with teacher shortage, with retention rates, with Title 1 schools, with a combination of any two of these keywords, and with all three keywords.

Using NOT narrows your search by excluding a word or phrase. This means you'll get fewer results. It is a good strategy to use if you're getting multiple articles about an aspect of your topic that you're not interested in.

 Use this format: ______________ NOT __________________

Example: teacher shortage NOT science

You're telling the database that you want all of the articles about teacher shortage EXCEPT the articles that focus on science teachers.

Here's another way to think about it:

NOT removes a chunk of results you would ordinarily have gotten. See the Venn Diagram below. The results you would get from your search are shaded in.

Search: Teacher Shortage not Science

This search finds all of the articles about the teacher shortage and then removes (excludes) the ones about science.

Sometimes it's appropriate to use more than one Boolean Operator in order to retrieve the results you want. In these situations parentheses are highly important because they tell the database how you want to group your keywords.

There are many ways to do this. Here are a few formats you may wish to try:

(__________ OR __________)  AND ___________                                                        Example: (science or STEM) and teacher shortage

__________ AND (__________ OR ____________)                                                       Example:  School funding and (allocation or distribution)

(___________ AND __________) NOT __________                                                       Example: (technology and classroom) not privacy

(__________ OR ____________) NOT ___________                                                      Example: (teacher salaries OR benefits) not pension

 

Let's take a look at what a few searches would look like:

Search: (Science or STEM) and Teacher Shortage

 

A search for (science or STEM) and teacher shortage returns articles that discuss science and the teacher shortage as well as those that discuss STEM and the teacher shortage. The articles do not have to include both science and STEM; they can have either one.

 

A search for school funding and (allocation or distribution) would follow the same pattern. 

Search: (Technology and Classroom) not Privacy

 

In this search, (technology and classroom) not privacy, we ask the database to give us all of the articles that include both technology and classrooms. Then we ask it to take out (exclude) the articles dealing with privacy concerns.

Quotation marks (" ") can be used to search for an exact phrase.

Example: "teacher retention"

 

An asterisk (*) can be used to search for multiple word endings.

Example: parent* returns results for parent, parents, parental, parenthood

(Note: It will not return results for related words like mother or father.)

 

A question mark (?) can be used as a wildcard.

Example: wom?n returns results for woman or women

 

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