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Economics, Law & Government: Search Strategies

This guide will provide the resources you need to complete your research paper.

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:

peanut butter AND jelly;  

peanut butter OR jelly; 

peanut butter AND jelly




Boolean operation

  • 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)

Truncation & Phrases

Library Catalog (WYLDCAT) EBSCOhost & WilsonWeb
Finds everything with the words
constitution  or constitutional
constitution$ constitution*
Phrase Single quotes: 'constitutional amendments' Double quotes: "constitutional amendments"


Boolean example courtesy of Purdue Global University