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Research Process: Search Strategies

This guide focuses on the skills and resources needed to complete a research project.

Finding a Topic, Keywords, Boolean Search and Find a Book Tutorial

Keyword Searching

What is Boolean Searching?

Quotation Marks

Quotation marks (" ") are used when you want to search an exact phrase of two or more words. For example searching for social media without the quotation marks gives nearly 18 million results (as of August 2020), whereas searching for "social media" with the quotations marks gives 5 million results.

screenshot of social media in quotations with 5 million results

Boolean Terms AND, OR, NOT

Venn diagrams to show Boolean Terms AND, OR, and NOT


AND is a limiting term meaning that the more words you put with AND, the few results you get.


OR is an expanding term meaning that the more words you put with OR, the more results you get.


NOT is a limiting term meaning that you are telling the search engine to deliberately eliminate keywords.

Image borrowed from Duke Library's research guide page.


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