Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

First-Year Writing Seminar

A collection of research resources for students enrolled in First Year Writing Seminar.

Search Connectors

To illustrate search connectors, let's assume that you have decided to write a research paper on the effect of social media on the Egyptian Revolution. The research question might be formulated as:

How did social media affect the Egyptian Revolution?
  1. Begin by identifying the main keywords or concepts in your topic:

    • social media
    • Egyptian Revolution
  2. Now that you have identified the keywords, you need to communicate to the database what you are looking for. This is done by using the Boolean commands AND, OR, and NOT.

    • "Egyptian Revolution" AND "social media" searches for occurrences of both words within scope defined.
    • "Egyptian Revolution" OR "social media" searches for one or all, but both are not required.
    • "Egyptian Revolution" NOT "social media" searches for occurrences of the words 'Egyptian Revolution' without use of the words 'social media.'
    • ("Egyptian Revolution" NOT "social media") AND gender searches for occurrences of the words 'Egyptian Revolution' without use of the words 'social media' then also requires the word 'gender.'
  3. Use a mind map to create a list of synonyms for your keywords.

    The keyword 'social media' in a circle with arrows pointing from the circle to synonyms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Second circle with keywords 'Egyptian Revolution' pointing to synonyms Egyptian Clashes, Arab Spring, Egyptian Uprising.

  4. Use one of the library's many resources to locate information on your topic. Make sure to vary up you keywords when using the library's resources!