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ENVR 615 / POLI 670

Searching Library Resources

Library tools use different language than the one we us everyday, so it's important to adapt our thesis statement or topic to the language that they will recognize. Here are some tips to help you create a good search strategy.

  • Think about your topic, what are the main concepts?
  • You can use a concept map to help you come up with your topic and relevant keywords.
  • Use the boolean operators below to combine your keywords together.
  • Select the best tool for your topic and begin your search.

Boolean Operators

  • Combines two concepts, both will be represented in the results.
  • Lowers the numbers of results
  • Ex: "climate change" AND policy
  • Joins two concepts or synonyms
  • Increases the number of results
  • Ex: overconsumption OR consumption OR consumerism
  • Removes the results that include the word that follows it
  • Lowers the numbers of results
  • Ex: climate change NOT pollution
  • Truncation symbol
  • All the words with the same root will be represented in the results
  • Use instead of plurals / can also replace a letter
  • Increases the number of results
  • Ex: Wom*n = will show results with woman and women. Canad* will show Canada, Canadian, canadien, canadienne, etc…


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Natalie Waters
Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering
McLennan Library Building, 6th floor
(514) 398-1204


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Emily MacKenzie
Macdonald Campus Library
Barton Building
Subjects: Environment

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