Note: in most, but not all, databases, the AND is implied. For example, Google automatically puts an AND in between search terms.
Example: renewable energy AND China
Example: renewable energy OR solar OR wind
This operator is great when you notice your search term is used in different disciplines. You might use this example when researching peacekeeping in the context of interpersonal conflict but your search results in documents about international conflict.
Example: peacekeeping NOT United Nations
Adapted from SAIS Library, Johns Hopkins Univ. "Database Search Tips" Guide (no longer extant).
If your initial searches bring back no or few results, don't give up! Don't despair! Reassess your search strategy.
Choosing the right search terms is key.
Database can be picky about search terms. Be selective.
Highly specific topics may be too narrow for finding results. Try a broader related topic first.
Records in library databases are made of "fields." Fields can help narrow your search.
Use quotation marks or parentheses around search words to search for a phrase. Otherwise most databases will find records that include both terms, but not necessary the terms as a phrase.
"united nations peacekeeping forces"
Adapted from SAIS Library, Johns Hopkins Univ. "Database Search Tips" Guide
Nesting is the use of parenthesis to put search words into sets. Use nesting with AND, OR, or NOT,
success AND (education OR employment)
(records will contain the word success, AND either the word education OR the word employment)
Nesting is often used when search terms have similar meanings:
education AND (employment OR jobs)