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COMM 111: Public Speaking

Broaden or narrow your search

When you connect your search terms with the words "AND" or "OR" you are asking the database to combine your search terms in specific ways to narrow or broaden your search. These words are called Boolean Operators.

AND focuses or narrows a search. If you want to answer the question "What is the impact of advertising on smoking in adolescents?" you can combine all of your keywords with AND. Advertising AND smoking AND adolescents will return results have all three keywords in the article.


OR broadens or expands a search to find all the words connected with the operator. Remember that a keyword search only looks for the word you enter. OR lets you put in all possible keywords that might mean the same thing.  For example, youth OR adolescents finds all the documents that have either word in them.


Parentheses function just like they do in algebra.  They say "do this operation first, then do this operation.  For example, (youth OR adolescents) AND smoking first finds documents that have either the words youth or adolescents in them, and then, from those results, looks for articles with the word smoking in them.

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