Linking your search terms
To make your search effective, think about how you link your keywords together. This will ensure that you can connect together different concepts or keywords, rather than searching for a phrase.
Linking search terms
The main connectors (often called Boolean connectors) you can use are:
AND – finds both your keywords: Beer AND hangover
OR – finds either of your keywords: Beer OR lager
NOT – excludes a keyword: Beer NOT hangover (be careful – relevant results could still include your term!)
Grouping alternative terms
You can use brackets to group together terms that are linked within your search. So, use OR to connect two similar terms within brackets to find either term AND another term together:
Hangover and (beer or lager) will find results containing:
- hangover and beer
- hangover and lager
Using these will allow you to build up detailed searches.
Some databases and search engines may include AND for you or use different connectors.
Use the Help links or Search tips provided by each resource for more information.
You can search for a specific phrase by enclosing it in "quotation marks". This will ensure your search terms are found in the order specified e.g. "Southampton beer festival".
Have a go at the quiz to see if you can select the correct linking elements to make a search strategy (see below).
|Linking terms quiz (Opens in new window)|