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Research Methodologies: Create Search Statement

Search Statement

With the list of terms you have, construct a search statement using Boolean operators:

(aged OR elderly) AND (care or caregivers) AND (policy or policies)

You need to do this as most search software are not able to handle natural language search statements such as; Policies for the care of the elderly

  • Keep your search statement and the list of search concepts handy as you search for materials.
  • Look out for more synonyms to add to the list as you look for materials.
  • After using the search statement, you need to evaluate the relevance of your search results.

Boolean operators

  • AND is used to indicate that both terms must be present

  • OR is used to indicate that either terms may be present

  • NOT is used to indicate that one term must not be present

Boolean operators



Truncation is another feature you can use to your search statement. It retrieves all terms with the part of the word as specified.

  • Right-hand truncation e.g. polic* retrieves policy, policies, police, etc.

  • Internal truncation e.g. organi ! ation retrieves organization and organisation.

Check the help screens in the retrieval software of the database you are searching for the characters used for truncation. Other commonly-used truncation symbols are $ and #

Resource Librarian

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Science Resource Team, NUS Libraries
NUS Science Library
Phone: +65 6516 2454