Peru State College
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Searching Tips for Library Resources & Search Engines

Boolean Logic

Link words together with AND, OR, NOT.

AND - narrows a search (e.g. global warming AND United States)

OR - broadens a search (e.g. global warming AND United States OR Canada)

Best to use with synonyms, slang, or related words.

NOT - limits a search (e.g. global warming AND United States NOT Alaska)


Phrase Searching - place a phrase between quote marks ("") (e.g. "global warming")


Truncation - use an asterisk (*) at the end of the root of a word to retrieve all variations of the word (e.g. educat* will search for educate, educators, education, educates, ...)


Wildcard - use a question mark (?) to replace one character in a word (e.g. wom?n will search for woman and women)


Articles in Scholarly Journals - Check the limit results box for "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals", "Peer reviewed", or "Scholarly journals" when you search.


Empirical Articles - Limit results to scholarly journals and add the terms "Study" and/or "Studies" to search. Click here for more tips.


For Search Engines

Know what you want or need before searching the Internet. And use more than one search engine; no search engine can search the entire Internet.


When thinking of words for your search, ask yourself:

  • What words would the author use to describe what you want?
  • What specialized vocabulary would be used?
  • What regional language or slang would be used?
  • What unique words would describe the information you need?


AND - the default or use a plus sign (+) (or AND in Bing) in front of a word to include it (e.g. Taming +of +the Shrew)


NOT - use a minus sign (-) (or NOT in Bing) to exclude a word (e.g. will remove commercial websites)


Phrase Searching - most helpful when searching the Internet by retrieving more relevant results (e.g. "Taming of the Shrew")


Remove common or stop words such as THE, A, OF, IN, ON, etc from your search. If you need to include a stop word, use phrase searching or use the plus sign (+) in front of the word. (e.g. "Taming of the Shrew" or Taming +of +the Shrew)


Search Titles of Web Sites - Use intitle: followed by words you want in the title (e.g. intitle:"Taming of the Shrew")


Search for a File Type - use filetype: followed by the file type extension (e.g. "global warming" filetype:PDF)


Search a Specific Website - use site: followed by the domain name (e.g. graduation


For more advance search options