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Efficiently Searching for Scholarly Articles

Step 4: Put the Search Statement into a Library Database

Select and use a library database most relevant to your problem of practice

POINTING FINGERTIP:  Begin searching in a multi-disciplinary database, such as Academic Search Complete or Google Scholar  (

Next, duplicate the search in a subject-specific database listed here. The Library Guide for your specific online program also contains a list of recommended subject databases in your area of studies.

Taking a Search Statement into a Library Database Using the Boolean Operator, AND

Type each key concept from your search statement into the database search boxes. Example: chronic illnesses AND opioid crisis

POINTING FINGERTIP: Chunk each separate part of your topic on a new line / search box.
             Join these with the Boolean Operator, AND.

             Add synonyms for concepts in the same box. Join these with the Boolean Operator, OR.

Using the Boolean Operator, OR, to get MORE Results

POINTING FINGERTIP: If you don’t see the results you expected after your first search, your keywords might not have matched the author’s.
You can improve your chances of matching their language by brainstorming synonyms and related terms for your key concepts.
is a Boolean Operator, or connector, used to EXPAND a key concept

OR tells databases to look for results that mention ANY One of the terms
Using it BROADENS your searches—use OR when you want MORE results
Place the OR connector in the same search box as its synonyms
Synonyms for the key concept, opioid crisis are opioid epidemic OR opioid abuse