Nuts n Bolts Questia

Questia Novice

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Questia Advanced

Questia Master

Quotation marks specify an exact word or phrase for your search (“state adoption laws”).

QuestiaBoolean operators, including the words AND, OR, and NOT and some other characters and terms, help you narrow or expand search results.

AND limits a search and means you want sources having all your search words, in any order ( crime AND punishment).

OR expands and looks for all the words. It means you want publications having any of your search words (crime OR punishment). Using OR will retrieve sources that contain only one of the search terms.

NOT limits a search. Include NOT before a keyword you don’t want; the results will include sources having the first word but not the second word (crime NOT punishment). However, using NOT can be dangerous when searching the full text of books and articles because it will eliminate any publication that has the specified word anywhere in it. NOT is best used when searching a specific field (such as title) rather than doing a full-text search. If you use NOT in the Questia keyword search, you can accidentally eliminate many of your relevant results.

Some search tools (including Google) use variations on these operators. For example, in Google you use a minus sign (−) instead of NOT. And in Google typing AND isn’t necessary, while other search tools require a plus sign (+). For library catalogs, databases, and many other search tools, check for advanced search pages where these options for refining a search are explained.

Truncation allows you to search for a term using alternate endings. Enter a root word followed by an asterisk (*) or another symbol (sometimes identified as a wild card) in order to find sources that use variations on that term. For example, if you wanted to search using keywords related to computers, you might type