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Boolean Searching: AND, OR and NOT

Use the connectors AND, OR and NOT to combine search terms.  

AND

  • narrows the search
  • search results include all terms connected by AND.  
Sample topic: You want information about poverty in Ontario. Your search statement might be: Ontario AND poverty
 
            (image - Boolean Searching #1)
 
The shaded area in the centre of this diagram search results: each record contains ALL search terms. 

OR

  • broadens the search
  • search results include any terms connected by OR.  
Sample topic: Teens are the target population of your research. Your search statement might include: youth OR teenagers OR adolescents
 
            (image - Boolean Searching #2)
 
The whole of this diagram is shaded to show the results of the search: each record contains ANY one or more of the search terms. 

NOT

  • narrows the search
  • search results exclude all records which contain the second term.  
Sample topic: You want information about sleep but not about sleep apnea. Your search statement might be: sleep NOT apnea
 
            (image - Boolean Searching #3)
 
Part of this diagram is shaded to show the results of the search: each record contains ONLY the word sleep and not the word apnea.