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ENGL 110/211C: English Composition (Lobo)


In most databases, you'll want to use keywords and not full sentences. For example, instead of searching for your topic: Should student loan debt be forgiven for everyone? you'll want to search for the main aspects of your topic. Sometimes the terminology that you use for a topic isn't what is used by a database, so you'll need to come up with some synonyms for your keywords. See the examples in the chart below!

"Student loan" Forgiveness
"Student debt" eliminate
"college debt" assistance


Putting quotation marks around your phrases is a simple strategy that can improve your search results. It tells the database that the phrase is more relevant than when the words appear separately in the resource.

"college cost"

"student loan"

"loan forgiveness"

Boolean Connectors

Connectors, or "Boolean operators" tell the database how your search terms are related to each other. Most of the time you'll use AND to connect your keywords.

"student debt" AND forgiveness

Sometimes, you'll use OR to expand your results. When you do this, be sure to put your OR terms in parentheses.

("student debt" OR "student loans") AND forgiveness

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