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PE 200: Foundations of Physical Education - Knutson: Boolean & Truncation

Search Techniques

See this visual explanation of Boolean Searching from Nicholls State University.

Boolean Operators help you define the set of results you want the database to show you.

AND - displays results that have both the terms searched for.

Example: cat AND dog will bring up results for books and articles that have both "cat" and "dog." This is a narrower search. If you have 15 items (5 cat, 5 dog, 5 cat and dog), this search will result in 5 titles.

OR - displays results that have at least one of the terms searched for.

Example: cat OR dog will bring up results for books and articles that have either "cat" or "dog." This is a broader search. If you have 15 items (5 cat, 5 dog, 5 cat and dog), this search will result in 15 titles.

NOT - a way of excluding something. The order of words is important: the term that comes after NOT is what is excluded.

Example: cat NOT dog will bring up results for books and articles that have "cat" but excludes results that have "dog." This is a narrower search. If you have 15 items (5 cat, 5 dog, 5 cat and dog), this search will result in 5 titles.

Using wildcards is a way to expand your search possibilities. These techniques work in most databases (but not all). There are no wildcard options in Science Direct.

Wildcards — a symbol used to represent any character. Wildcards can usually be used at the end of a word or within a word to search variant spellings of a word. Use the pound/hashtag symbol (#) and sometimes the asterisk (*) to do this. You can use more than one wildcard symbol to stand in for more than one character; each represents 0-1 characters.

     Example: wom#n retrieves woman or women
                    In some databases: wom*n retrieves woman or women

Using truncation is a way to expand your search possibilities. These techniques work in most databases (but not all). There are no truncation options in Science Direct.

Truncation — a symbol added to the end of the root of a word to instruct the database to search for all forms of a word. The asterisk (*) is used in many databases for truncation.

     Example: adolescen* retrieves adolescent, adolescents, or adolescence