An Online Tutorial Taking You Through the Steps of the Library Research Process Boolean OR

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Tutorial Contents:
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  5. Trying it on for Size
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Boolean OR
will expand your search results.  It is usually used to combine synonyms.  It tells the database that two or more terms can be used interchangeably. 

When using a Boolean OR search, any or all of the terms may be in the search results.

A Boolean OR search is often part of a Boolean AND search.  An example would be:

heroes and villains and (motion pictures or movies or film)

This search will find sources that always have the terms heroes and villains and also must include at least one of the three terms in parentheses.  This is an efficient search method because different articles may use different terminology to describe essentially the same thing.  This search would retrieve all of those sources regardless of the terminology they use.  This is where your list of synonyms or related terms you brainstormed earlier will come in useful.

Here's a helpful (and slightly humerous) YouTube video, "What the Heck is Boolean Searching?" that explains well how to put together a Boolean search.

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