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Creative and Innovative Education: Search Tips

Search Tips

Two of the most common search strategy options:

  • Use quotations to "search a phrase"
  • Use the star sign to truncate a word*

For example "Response to Intervention"  will search all words in this order as a complete phrase.

education*  will search education OR educational

(Note that databases are not all searched the same way. You may need to consult the help section of your database to find out what types of features the database supports.)

Boolean Searching (Using AND, OR, NOT)

Tutorial: Boolean searching

Most searches require more than one word or concept. Here's how to connect your search terms with Boolean operators:

Use the word AND (in all caps) to connect keywords and narrow your search:

Education AND Politics

Use the word OR (in all caps) to broaden your search. “OR” is often used for synonyms:

Literacy OR Reading

Use the word NOT (in all caps) to eliminate a word:

Qualitative NOT interview*

Subject Searching Using the Thesaurus

Use the thesaurus to find search terms and/or to do subject searching.  Most databases have a thesaurus that is specific to that database. The thesaurus can help you choose the right search terms for that database. It can also help you focus your search on a subject area. 

Tutorial for using the ERIC thesaurus

Tutorial for using the PsycInfo thesaurus