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Educational Leadership (Ed.D)

Keywords and Search Terms

Searching in the library's resources depends on the keywords - or search terms - you use. Instead of searching for a whole question or sentence, break your topic into keywords. Mix and match different combinations of keywords to get different results when searching. Also, think of similar or related terms you can search for.

For example:

How does online bullying impact adolescent students?

Possible keyword combinations:

  • Bullying AND Online
  • Bullying AND Online AND Adolescent
  • Bullying AND (Online OR Social Media)
  • Bullying AND (Adolescent OR Teenager OR High School OR Secondary)

Possible similar or related terms:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Harassment

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators define the relationship between search terms.

  • AND searches for all of the search terms. The AND operator limits the search because the sources in the results must contain both terms.
  • OR searches for either of the search terms. The OR operator expands the search because the sources in the results can contain either term.
  • NOT excludes the search term immediately after the NOT operator. The NOT operator limits the search because the sources in the results cannot include the term following the word NOT.

diabetes AND children = articles about children with diabetes
diabetes OR children = articles about either diabetes or children 
diabetes NOT children = articles about diabetes, but excludes articles mentioning children with diabetes

This diagram will show you how the Boolean operators limit or expand searches.

venn diagram demonstrating boolean operators

Image attribution: CC BY-SA 4.0 by Cecelia Vetter

For more help, watch this video on Using Boolean Operators:

Basic and Advanced Research Tips

Looking for something else? Check out these related guides and resources: