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Starting Your Research

Boolean Searching

Boolean operators are used to join your search terms together in order to make your search more or less specific.

illustration of two overlapping circles with the words colleges AND "polar bears"



AND is the most commonly used operator. When you use AND to join your search terms, you will only get results that include all of your terms. In this example, we will only get results that include the words colleges and polar bears.

illustration of two circles with space in between and words "Ohio Northern" OR "polar bears" 

OR makes your search less specific and will bring back more results. It is most helpful when searching for synonyms or closely related terms. In this example, we will get results that use just Ohio Northern, just polar bears, and results that include both terms.

Image of one circle with the words "Polar bears" NOT "Ohio Northern"


NOT is used to exclude a term from your search. It will make your search more specific and bring back fewer results. In this example, we will only get results with the term polar bears and no results with the word Ohio.

CAUTION: NOT should be used sparingly as it can remove potentially helpful results.