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Research Guides

INI106: Writing Literary Journalism

This guide support InnisONE Creative in the City program's course INI106 Writing Literary Journalism: Telling the Stories of the City

Building your Search

Choosing your Search Terms

Enter search terms on separate lines e.g., enter title of film on the top line, director's last name below, so as to articulate your search request. Use Boolean Operators to improve your seach:

  • AND - narrows your search (e.g., Procrastination AND Instagram)
  • OR - widens your search (e.g., film OR movies OR cinema, youth OR teen OR "young adult",  “ebook” OR "e-Book")
  • Quotations marks - search for specific phrases (e.g., "Great Lakes", "First Nations", "speed-networking")
  • Wildcard * - search for root word with different endings  (e.g. enviro* = environment, environments, environmentalism)

Using Search Operators

Search operators are a set of commands that can be used in almost every search engine, database, or online catalogue.  The most popular  operators are AND, OR, and NOT. These must all be in capital letters to work. Other operators include parentheses, truncation, and phrases.

Use the following search operators to broaden or narrow your results.

AND Use this word between concepts to narrow your results.  e.g. sensory AND perception
OR Use this word between related concepts.  e.g. habitat OR ecosystem
NOT Use this word to exclude terms from your search. e.g. virus NOT corona
Quotations Use quotes to search for a multi-word concept. e.g. "International Year of Indigenous Languages"
* Use the asterisk symbol to include alternate word endings. e.g. cultur* will search for culture, cultural, and culturally
? Use a question mark to include variations in spelling in your search. e.g. wom?n will search for woman, women
(  ) Use brackets to create separate groups of actions in your search. e.g. "climate change" AND (ecosystem* OR habitat*) AND Ontario

Pictured below is an example of how all of the above search operators can be combined to refine a search that will help locate sources describing the experience of women participating in the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada.

Advanced search using brackets, quotations, an asterisk, and the AND, OR, and NOT commands.