On this page:
"When possible, avoid using the operator NOT because it tends to exclude documents you could actually use"
After you have identified your search terms, you need to combine your terms with the aid of Boolean operators. Boolean consists of connectors that combine your search terms. Let’s take a look at the Boolean operators to know how it helps us to get appropriate results.
The boolean operators below demonstrate examples for the question: “Discuss the impact of social media on teenagers.”
Use AND to combine and find information on all of your search terms. This will narrow your search. When using AND, you only receive pages including both of your search terms, though not next to each other. For your assignment, search for ‘social media AND teenagers’ to get results including social media specific to teenagers.
Use NOT to exclude a specific term from your search which will again narrow your search. The NOT operator is used to find pages including only the first term and excluding the second term. For your assignment, search for ‘Teenagers NOT Adults’ to get results specific to teenagers only and not get any results related to adults.
Be very careful in your use of this operator - it can exclude relevant material. For example, an article might discuss teenagers and adults but it would be excluded as it contains the term 'adults'.
See the following examples of the use of parentheses with AND, OR and NOT operators in searching. These examples build on the previous page on identifying key terms.
Example 1: teenagers and the use of social media
(teenagers OR adolescents) AND (social media OR facebook)
Example 2: heart problems and the elderly
(heart attack OR myocardial infarction OR MI OR cardiac arrest) AND (elder OR elderly OR older OR geriatric OR senior)
Example 3: plants on sandy shores
(plants OR flora) AND (sandy shores OR shoreline OR beach OR foreshore)
All of these examples are further developed on the next page using further search techniques