WGS4224 - Intersectionality: Search

Boolean searching

Rather than typing a full sentence or question into a search box, using Boolean operators can help you create an efficient and effective database search.

Try our new Search Strategy Builder, which will create searches out of keywords that you supply!

In order to use Boolean operators, you need to know:

Boolean operators

  • AND: both terms that you connect with AND must be somewhere in the bibliographic record for that record to be retrieved.  AND narrows a search and retrieves fewer articles
  • OR: only one of the search terms combined with OR is required for the bibliographic record t5o be retrieved.  OR broadens a search and retrieves more articles
  • NOT: excludes a particular subset, category, or term.  NOT requires the presence of one search term and the exclusion of another.

Read more about Boolean searching.


A symbol, specific to the search interface, which allows the retrieval of all endings for the specified base word. An asterisk (*) is often used. For example,  child* would retrieve records with children, childish, and every other word that begins with the root word "child."


A symbol, specific to the search interface, which allows the retrieval of various spellings of a word. A questio mark is often used.  For example, wom?n would retrieve records with women or woman.  

Read more about these sorts of tricks

Example Boolean search statements using symbols

  • (Calcium AND milk) NOT goat
  • child* AND anxiety AND (exercise OR physical activity)

See our tutorial about developing search statements.