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Operators, also called Boolean operators, help make a student’s search more specific. Separating keywords with operators can help students get the most relevant results for their needs.

AND helps narrow the search to ensure both keywords are in the results.

Results from the search butterflies AND moths results must include both.

Venn diagram showing how the operator AND works

OR can be used to broaden a search. This is useful if a student isn’t finding enough resources about their topic.

In the search butterflies OR moths will return sites just about butterflies, just about moths, and sites about both.

Venn diagram showing how the OR graphic works

NOT helps narrow results, particularly when there is a closely related term you don’t want results about.

The search moths NOT butterflies will exclude results that mention butterflies.

Venn diagram showing how the NOT operator works

Exact match is indicated by enclosing a word or phrase in quotation marks.

Using quotation marks ensures that all results will include that exact phrase.

Venn diagram showing how the exact match operator works

Tip: When using the OR operator, more popular search results may be favored. If students are struggling to find information, they may want to search their terms separately. 

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