Skip to Main Content

Modern Physics: PHYS 2796

Search Tips

Boolean Operators: Three little words to help your search

AND between search terms retrieves both terms, OR between terms brings back either term, and NOT before a term eliminates results that have that term

Quotes: Searching Exact Phrases

In the above section, you see we put “climate change” and “global warming” in quotes. Doing this in your search will bring back only that exact phrase. 

  • A search for just climate change could catch results like “...the climate towards social change...”
  • A search for just global warming could catch results like “...the global community is warming to the idea...”

Truncation and Wildcards: Get* alternate forms of word*

There are a few different ways to use truncation symbols or “wildcards” to search for different forms of a word. Here’s an example:

A search for gene* will bring back all these words:

  • gene
  • genes
  • genetic
  • genetics
  • genetically

But beware! Make sure you put your wildcard character in just the right spot. The same search will also bring back these words:

  • general
  • generally
  • generic
  • genesis

See more about what truncation can do for you in this great tutorial from Colorado State.


You can use nesting (parentheses) to help organize a more complicated search. For example, you could search for:

“genetically modified” AND (crop* OR food) NOT (corn OR maize)

to get results about genetically modified food or crops that do not talk about corn, aka maize.