ILT Home Click here for Pre and Post-Tests Click here for Chapter 1 - Basics Click here for Chapter 2 - Refining and Selecting Topics Click here for Chapter 3 - Researching Sources Click here for Chapter 4 - Locating Sources Click here for Chapter 5 - Evaluating Results Click here for Chapter 6 - Ethics

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3. Research

e. 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 phrases, logical (Boolean) operators, truncation, wildcards and nesting:

Quotation marks Around exact phrases (e.g. "basset hound club of America")
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  (* # ? !) 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. For this reason, check the HELP or ADVANCED SEARCH pages for specifics on how to search effectively.

Below, click on the words in the Search Strategy column to view individual graphic representations of each strategy, or click the button bellow for a full page of all strategies.


Search Strategy

Narrowing AND
Broadening OR
Combining Nesting

Search Strategy






a. Overview

b. Databases

c.  Records

d. Field Searching

e. Search Query





Self-Test 1 Basics | 2 Topics | 3 Research 4 Locate 5 Results 6 Ethics 


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Information Literacy Tutorial

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