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BIO 142: Boolean Logic,
Truncat* and (Parens)

Guide to help students with their BIO 142 research assignment

Advanced Search Tips

These strategies apply to almost any database (or search engine), from Google to Biological Abstracts.  Use a Concept Map to think about your research question before you start the actual searching (see right).

Boolean Logic

Databases, including Google, use Boolean Logic to combine search terms. (Google assumes an "AND" between search terms).  Boolean operators allow you to combine synonyms and concepts and eliminate different meanings of words.

The Boolean Operators are AND, OR, NOT


Truncation allows you to use a word stem to search for strings of various characters.

Parentheses ( ) let you combine synonyms to search for a group of them at once.  It's like a math problem, where you do what's in parentheses first!   Here's where you can get really wordy with your search. So....

(canines or dogs or canis) AND (ecology or habitat)

Map out your search strategy

Creating a concept map can help you set up your search.  Pose your research question then determine the elements of your search. Add synonyms to create a great search!

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