Search operators are a set of commands that can be used in almost every search engine, database, or online catalogue. The most popular operators are AND, OR, and NOT. These must all be in capital letters to work. Other operators include parentheses, truncation, and phrases.
Use the following search operators to broaden or narrow your results.
|AND||Use this word between concepts to narrow your results.||e.g. sensory AND perception|
|OR||Use this word between related concepts.||e.g. habitat OR ecosystem|
|NOT||Use this word to exclude terms from your search.||e.g. virus NOT corona|
|Quotations||Use quotes to search for a multi-word concept.||e.g. "International Year of Indigenous Languages"|
|*||Use the asterisk symbol to include alternate word endings.||e.g. cultur* will search for culture, cultural, and culturally|
|?||Use a question mark to include variations in spelling in your search.||e.g. wom?n will search for woman, women|
|( )||Use brackets to create separate groups of actions in your search.||e.g. "climate change" AND (ecosystem* OR habitat*) AND Ontario|
Pictured below is an example of how all of the above search operators can be combined to refine a search that will help locate sources describing the experience of women participating in the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada. The search is formulated to include results with either the phrase 'black lives matter' or 'blm' (with or without capitalization), and any words starting with 'canad' - such as 'canadian', 'canada', and so on. Additionally, it will include results which include 'gender' or 'woman'/'women', and exclude results including the word 'men' or 'man',