Answered By: APUS Librarians
Last Updated: Dec 05, 2016     Views: 5034

To preserve the logic of your search when using multiple Boolean operators,  just group them with parentheses.  Librarians call this nesting.  It looks complicated, but is really fairly simple.

Here's an example:

Suppose you want to write about the impact of learning environments on kids of all ages.  Instead of running several searches for different combinations of keywords like these:

  • learning environment and elementary
  • learning environment and middle school
  • learning environment and high school
  • learning environment and children
  • learning environment and adolescents
  • learning environment and teenagers

Group the synonyms together (connected by OR) and place parentheses around them, so that the database knows which Boolean operators go with which keywords.   Your nested search might look something like these: 

  • learning environment AND (elementary OR middle OR high) AND school
  • learning environment AND (children OR adolescents OR teenagers)

Librarians enjoy putting these sorts of power searches together.  If you need help with yours, just let us know!

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