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Searching for Resources

Tips on how to search for the resources you need!

Refining your Search: Boolean Search Operators

A Boolean Search uses a combination of keywords and three basic Boolean operators to refine your search.

The three basic Boolean operators are: AND, NOT, OR.
(These are also visible in ADVANCED SEARCH in the drop-down menu options.)

Do take note Boolean operators (AND, NOT, OR) must be keyed in uppercase letters for them to work – otherwise, the search engine removes them, and performs a simple search that includes all the search phrases.

Let’s say we’re interested in searching for “students”, “stress”, and “sleep”.

  • Searching for “students AND stress” would yield results containing the two keywords;
  • “students OR stress” would result in one or the other (i.e. some results may not have “students”; some results may not have “stress”);
  • “students NOT stress” would result in searches pertaining to “student” that do not include “stress”.

If you’re looking to work on a paper pertaining to the discussion of “nature vs nurture” in “intelligence”, and would like to exclude results pertaining to artificial intelligence, you can key in: “intelligence NOT artificial”. Or more precisely, “nature vs nurture AND intelligence NOT artificial”.

Quotation Marks

You can use quotation marks to search for a specific phrase, and with the words in order.

For example, you can search “global warming” as one term (enclosed with quotation marks) that would yield results to do with “global warming”, rather than “global” and “warming”.


You could also use parentheses to further narrow your search.

For example, “students AND (stress OR sleep)” would result in “students AND stress”, and “students AND sleep”.

Or, for example: “Intelligence AND (nature NOT nurture)” would yield results pertaining to intelligence AND nature, leaving out results pertaining to “nurture”.

Wildcard Characters with Asterisks and Question Marks

Including the use of asterisks would yield results of the different forms of the word of multiple characters (e.g. “cultur*” would yield “culture”, “cultural”, “culturally”; “intell*” would yield “intelligence”, “intelligent”, “intellect”).

Including the use of question marks would yield results of different forms of a word with a single character difference, or appears differently (e.g. “wom?n” would yield “woman, women”).