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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Computer Engineering

Computer Science Databases

Library Databases

Online Repositories & Open Access Resources

Ways to narrow or broaden a search

Boolean operators allow you to combine words or phrases in specific ways.

AND requires that all words be present in the retrieved articles.

OR allows any of the words to be present in the retrieved articles.  Use for synonyms of words.

NOT requires that the word is not present in any of the retrieved articles.  Use with extreme caution because it can eliminate relevant articles.


Truncation or wildcards allow you to search for words beginning with specific characters. 

Many databases use an asterisk (*) to truncate.

ex: program* retrieves program, programs, programmer, programming, etc.

Be careful truncating short words.

ex: cat* retrieves cat, cats, category, catastrophe, catacylsmic, etc.


Phrase searching keeps words together as a phrase.  Many databases assume the Boolean "and" between words unless you indicate otherwise, usually by putting double quotes around the phrase.

ex:  "object oriented programming"