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SOCW 3201: Social Work Practice: The Art of Searching

The Research Process

Boolean Operators

Boolean Operators AND, OR, and NOT connect each keyword and/or keyword phrase in a statement such as: What is the relationship between United States intelligence operations and counterterrorism?

In the following examples, circles and areas in the Venn Diagrams that appear purple are returned as search results by the database.

Using the AND Operator

Use AND to narrow a search strategy and to look for two or more terms in your result.

Example: United States AND counterterrorism

Using the OR Operator

Use OR to broaden a search and to find either or both concepts in the result.

Example: counterterrorism OR counter terrorism

In this case, every article with either "counter terrorism" or "counterterrorism" is returned in the list of results.

Using Credo Reference to Start Your Research

Credo Reference is a database that Joyner Library has access to that will be of great use to you as your start your research. The database includes many reference books like encyclopedias, dictionaries, and more. Two other things that will be helpful in coming up with keywords and ideas for your research are their mind maps (pictured below) and their pro/con research tools, which shows both sides of current issues.

To use Credo Reference to develop your topic, you may want to try:

  • Read short encyclopedia entries on topics related to your field of study (search: sociology, social justice, social class, etc.)
  • Search in the mind maps for keywords and related terms that might help you
  • Look at the Topic Pages for more information 

Here is a video that shows you how to use the Credo Mindmap, as well as a link to a mindmap about sociology.

Credo Reference: Social Sciences

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