Answered By: University of Illinois Library
Last Updated: Dec 06, 2016     Views: 21

To narrow or broaden search results, try using Boolean searches. Boolean searching is a method of using search tools called operators and modifiers that modify the search results by using them with their key words to broaden and narrow search results. 

The operators are:

  • AND, which combines words together to narrow a search
  • OR, which searches for one term or another to broaden a search
  • NOT, which excludes words from a search to narrow it

The modifiers are:

  • an asterisk *, which is placed at the end of a word stem and pulls results with the same stem and different endings and broadens a search
  • parenthesis (), which are used with OR statements to specify that the results should only mention one of the key words
  • quotation marks " ", which will return the exact word or phrase searched and no variants

Read this library guide page on Boolean searches or this LifeWire article to learn more.

Contact Us


If the Ask a Librarian chat service is offline, visit the Ask a Librarian help page to find alternative contact methods.

Related Topics