Behind every good research paper is an in-depth, thought-provoking guiding question. Once the foundation has been laid, and the question has been thoughtfully posed, the next step is to find information. This can be a much more intricate process than people think. The search bar can be daunting and uses every word you enter to curate a list of potential sources. The combination of certain keywords within the search statement could make or break the Research paper. Search statements are a set of instructions that the algorithm of the database uses to provide you with sources.
George Boole, a mathematician created a set of instructions that can help streamline the search process using key conjunctions to either broaden or limit the scope of the search. Keywords and phrases have much more power within the search engine than just pasting the research question. For example, one of his major keywords is AND, which can help make sure the entirety of key aspects of the question are included in the search. A search such as, “Sleep AND productivity AND Grade point average” would make sure that all three of these keywords are included within the results. Putting certain keywords in quotations is also critical to ensuring that the word is prominent among the articles. Another key Boolean operator is “or”. This can help give you some lee-way within the search by slightly changing the key words or phrases, but also providing you with similar information. This operator is key because it can remove some boundaries within the search. For example, “sleeping or mid-day naps.” “Or” can provide a door to many more articles that may be relevant through the light adjustment of key words or phrases used within the search. Lastly, “not” can be crucial if a search is repeatedly providing irrelevant results regarding a different topic. The use of this operator may be more uncommon but can provide tunnel vision straight to the relevant scholarly journals.
Ultimately the Boolean Operators are enough to change the whole course of research. Having the ability to control the search bar and maneuver through information is something that is drastically overlooked. I strongly recommend incorporating the Boolean operators in your next research project and reap the benefits it provides. When provided with access to information and having a proper research question, the possibilities are limitless with the Boolean operators.