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SOC 308: Research Methods in Sociology

Database Search Tips

  • Use Boolean operators connect your search words together to either narrow or broaden your set of results. The two basic boolean operators are: AND and OR.

​AND tells the database that ALL search terms must be present in the resulting records. 
Example: healthcare AND immigrants ​



OR increases your results, telling the database that ANY of your search terms can be present in the resulting records. 
Example: migrants OR immigrants


  • Use database limit options as needed. Most databases offer these options to limit your results:
    • to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals
    • by source type (magazines, newspapers, academic journals)
    • by language (e.g., English)



  • Broaden a search by using a truncation symbol with a search term. Most databases use the (*) symbol. For example, immigra* retrieves immigration, immigrant, immigrants, immigrate, immigrates. 
  • Use quotes around search words to force exact phrase searching. Example: "dream act"
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