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Stony Brook University

Cultural Studies: Research Tutorials

Stony Brook University Libraries

Get help with:

  • Choosing a topic
  • Identifying sources
  • Using STARS (the library catalog)
  • Finging articles
  • Using the web
  • Citing sources

Internet for Women's Studies

Need More Help?

The SBU Libraries offer free workshops throughout the semester to help improve your research skills. Check the link below for a list of current workshops.

Boolean Operators

How to use AND, OR, NOT and parentheses to create more powerful searches and save yourself some time.

Peer Review In 5 Minutes

Some Search Tricks

Here are some easy tricks that can help with your searching:

Putting an AND between words will search for BOTH words on a webpage or in an article.  When you do a normal Google search, you are doing an AND search.

EXAMPLE: immigration and employment will only give you web pages or articles that have both of those words.  This means you will get fewer results, but they should be better results.

Putting QUOTATION MARKS around a phrase will search for web pages or articles that have that exact phrase.  This is a very useful trick.  It will cut down on the number of bad results.  Be careful not to include too many words inside the quotation marks, because that's EXACTLY what will be searched.

EXAMPLE: “genetic engineering” will only give you web pages or articles with that exact phrase.  Other examples are "climate change," "no child left behind," "body image."

An ASTERISK (*) search is very useful when similar words are being used to talk about a topic.  It searches for all the various words using the same root.

EXAMPLE: comput* will give you articles that have the words compute, computer, computing, etc.  Or: educat* will search for educate, education, educator, educators, etc.

Putting an OR between words will give you articles with at least one of the words.  This will give you more results.  It can be useful when you're not sure which word is being used more.

EXAMPLE: fat OR obesity will give web pages and articles that have the word fat.  And it will give you web pages and articles that have the word obesity.

Use (Parentheses) to group multiple search terms together.  You're basically doing TWO searches at the same time.

EXAMPLE: debt and (teenagers or adolescents) will give you web pages or articles that have the words debt and teenagers and web pages and articles that have the words debt and adolescents.