Boolean Operators and Truncation

Using Boolean Operators

Link to video:

Visual:                Advanced search page in SocIndex with Full Text database

Narration:        Hi!  This video is going to show you how to use Boolean Operators to add precision to our search by expanding or narrowing are results. Lets start with a Topic:                Teenage drug use in rural areas. We will take the topic, divide it into concepts and put one concept in each search box. So we will start off with:


Visual:                Typing Teenage in first search box:

Narration:        Teenage


Visual:                Typing Drug use in second search box:

Narration:        Drug use


Visual:                Typing Rural in third search box:

Narration:        and Rural. You can see the database has already separated each concept with the Boolean operator “AND.”  This limits your search and reduces results because we are telling the database to only bring back results that contain all three of these concepts.  When we hit the search button,


Visual:                Result screen

Narrative:         We get 5 results. We can expand this by OR Boolean operator.


Visual:                Typing the phrase “OR Drug abuse OR alcohol abuse” after Drug Use in the second search box

Narrative:         “OR” expands your search and increases your results because we are now telling the database to look for articles that contain drug use OR drug abuse OR alcohol abuse. When we hit the search button


Visual:                Results page

Narrative:         We get 10 results. We can expand this further by adding the OR Boolean operator up here to include…


Visual –Typing “teenage OR teenager OR teens” in the first search box.

Narrative:         Teenage OR teenager OR teens.  However, there is an easier way to do this and it is called Truncation. 


Visual:                Delete the words in the first search box and typing Teen*

Narrative:           If we go to the root word and then put an asterisk, we are telling the database to look for this root word. So it will look for anything that contains the term Teenager, teenage or teens.  When we hit the search button


Visual:                Search results

Narrative:         We have expanded to 62 results. We can even expand further by adding additional synonyms or alternative search terms to Teen.  Such as adolescen* OR youth


Visual:                Adding “adolescen* OR youth” after Teen* in the first search box

Narrative:         Here we are using the Asterisk again to look for Adolescence and Adolescent


Visual:                Results page

Narration:        And now we have expanded our search to 179 results.  So you can see how useful Boolean operators can be in your searching.  Thank you for watching.


Created May 2017 by Walden University Library