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GEOG 232

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are words or symbols that are used in conjunction with words to refine searches. 

Here are six helpful ones to use: 

  1. AND - narrows 
    1. Ex: ADHD and boys (this narrows down our results to only include ADHD and boys) 
  2. NOT - excludes
    1. Ex: ADHD not boys (this narrows down our results to include things about ADHD excluding those that mention boys) 
  3. OR - expands
    1. Ex: boys or males or guy (this expands our our search to search for multiple possible terms) 
  4. * - expands 
    1. Ex: rac*  (using the asterisk in replace of an ending on a word will expand your search to include results that have any ending on the base word.)
  5. " " - exact phrase
    1. Ex: "executive functioning" (this pulls up results that are stated in the item exactly as written) 
  6. ( ) - confine
    1. Ex: (ADHD or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) AND (boys or guys or males)     - (this will instruct the database or search engine on what parts go together in your search phrase

What Makes a Quality Source?

There are many things that make up a quality source. Some sources may be peer-reviewed, whereas others may be written by government agencies. The list below is a selection of criteria to consider when determining whether a source is good or not. 

  1. Authority - Who is the author of your source? What credentials do they have? 
  2. Date - When was this published? Is it current enough to be informative for the subject matter? 
  3. Accuracy - How factual is the information? Can you fact-check it with other quality sources? 
  4. Language - Is the language being used exclamatory or inflammatory? Does it contain descriptions that seem biased? 
  5. Purpose - What purpose does this source serve in your list of resources? 

These are just a few things to consider when evaluating the quality of a source. It's important to look at a source from a holistic nature, understanding the purpose it serves in your research. 

What is Peer Review?

What does peer-reviewed mean in context to journal articles? Peer-review is a process that many scholarly journals undertake to evaluate the quality of the material being submitted. When an article is submitted to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, several impartial reviewers (who are experts in the subject matter) assess for accuracy, and the validity of the research methodology and procedure.