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Political Science - American Government: Search Strategies

Creating Search Statements

Creating good search statements will help speed up your research and retrieve the best results while hopefully minimizing the number of irrelevant results.  The strategies mentioned on this page - using keywords, boolean operators, truncation and phrases - are not absolutely required for all search engines but they can make any search engine, even Google, work better for you. 

Identifying Keywords & Synonyms

  • Reduce the thesis statement to important terms or keywords
  • Example:  How has the Supreme Court interpreted the 19th amendment of the United States Constitution?
  • Think of SYNONYMS:   case = decision or opinion

Boolean Operators

Search Statement:

television AND violence

  • AND only retrieves content where both keywords are present
  • OR is best when searching with synonyms (ex: teens OR adolescents)
  • NOT will exclude terms from your search, similar to the - (negative sign) in Google (ex: football NOT dolphins)