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HCS 300: Writing for Healthcare Science

For online HCS 300 sections.

Lesson: Search Strategies

In this lesson you will learn how to utilize a variety of search strategies to effectively locate and retrieve information on your topic.  You will:

  1. Watch the "Boolean Operators" video.
  2. Review the "How Search Strategies Work" chart which explains the various search strategies including Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT), phrases, and truncation.
  3. Watch the "Search Strategies in Action" video.
  4. Download and utilize the optional Search Strategies worksheet.

Search Strategies

Using Boolean Operators


How Search Strategies Work 


Search Strategy

What it does



(Boolean Operator)

All terms must appear

Narrows your search

Fewer results

Use to include multiple unique concepts

“coffee AND Brazil” searches for all articles that include both terms, coffee and Brazil


(Boolean Operator)

Either term may appear

Broadens your search

More results

Use for related concepts

“coffee OR caffeine” searches for either term in the articles


(Boolean Operator)

Removes a term from your search

Narrows your search

Fewer results

Use for concepts you do not want to include

“South America NOT Brazil” searches for articles on South America and removes articles with the word Brazil in them


Search for exact phrases

Narrows your search

Fewer results

“ecological tourism” searches for that phrase in that particular order


Searches for all forms of a word

Broadens your search

More results

Use to search for the root word of a concept

Add an asterisk * to the root or stem of a word

A search for “tour*” will look for tour, tourism, tourist


Search Strategies in Action

Putting Search Strategies into Practice

Download the worksheet below for assistance in developing effective search strategies for your research question/topic.