Combining search terms

Preparing your search: Combining your terms

Boolean searching

Use search, or Boolean, operators to combine your terms.

AND: medical and devices 
Items containing BOTH words will now be searched for. Using 'and' will usually result in fewer but more relevant hits.

OR: exploit or misuse 
Items containing EITHER or BOTH words will now be searched for. Using ‘or’ broadens your search.

NOT: advertising not merchandising 
The term ‘not’ is a stop word. In this example, any items containing the keyword ‘merchandising’ will not be retrieved. Be careful how you use this, as you can exclude some relevant information!

Use parentheses (brackets) to run part of the search separately. This is used with the search operator ‘or’. Using brackets helps structure your search by breaking it down into sections. The search energy and (solar or sun) would retrieve items referring to:

  • Energy and solar
  • Energy and sun
  • Energy and solar and sun

Put quotation marks around a group of words to search for a phrase, for example: 
“balanced scorecard”.