Used here with permission from University of Rhode Island Libraries under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
After choosing a topic you need to determine what it is about that topic that you would like to know or to discuss. Set this up in the form of a statement or question.
When you have your statement/question ready, pick out the words relating to the main points/concepts – the “key” words. For example:
Topic: "Females have brought a positive element to the military."
Key words: "female" and “positive” and "military.”
Next, come up with related words/synonyms for each key word in case any of the original key words don’t seem to be working out for the search. For example:
If any of your key ‘words’ are really a phrase, you’ll need to put quotation marks around them to tell the database that they must stay together in that arrangement. For example:
“World War II”
Change out your search terms (key words/phrases) - mix and match - until you get some results you're satisfied with.
Boolean logic defines logical relationships between terms in a search. The Boolean search operators are and, or and not. You can use these operators to create a very broad or very narrow search.
Note: When executing a search, And takes precedence over Or.
The following table illustrates the operation of Boolean terms: