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Library Resources for Writing Center Tutors: Search Basics

The purpose of this guide is to provide assistance for Writing Center tutors if a library-related issue should emerge during their session.

Search Tips

Universal search tricks for identifying the most relevant sources and saving time.

  • Boolean Connectors AND/OR/NOT  

Use AND to join different kinds of concept and narrow results

Example: antioxidants AND blueberries


Use OR to connect similar terms and broaden results  

Example:  carrots OR tomatoes OR beans


Use NOT to exclude terms and narrow results (use with caution)  

Example:  antioxidants NOT blueberries

  • Truncation ( * )

Use to allow for variant endings on search terms

Example: child* (results will include child, children, childhood, etc.)

  • Exact Phrases ( " " )

Use quotation marks for exact phrases or words in a particular order
Example: "weight loss "

  • Keywords

Consider the concepts related to your topic and different search terms to capture the essence of the concepts. The easiest way to do this is to consider synonyms.

Example: If your search term is Benefits, synonyms might include Improved, Healthier, Pros, Outcomes, Positive.