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Psychology: Finding Books

This guide is designed to help you find materials available from the Houston Cole Library for research in psychology.

Selected Psychology Books

Search Strategy Tips

The Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT are often used to combine keywords when searching catalogs and  databases. These operators can make your search more focused and return more results. But before using the operators, it is necessary to understand how they actually work.

It is helpful to diagram the effects of these operators:

 

A search for rock AND roll will locate all records containing both the word "rock" and the word "roll." It will locate items about rock and roll music. It might also locate records that contain both words in a different context, such as "It recommends you roll the rock quickly."

 

A search for rock OR roll will locate all records containing either the word "rock" or the word "roll" -- not necessarily both. It will retrieve items about bakery rolls, tumbling, rocks, music, gemstones, etc.

 

A search for rock NOT roll will locate records containing the word "rock" but NOT the word "roll." It will retrieve items about rocks, gemstones, diamonds, etc. Keep in mind that a search for "rock NOT roll" will return different records than the search "roll NOT rock."

Keep in mind that the connectors AND and NOT generally limit your search (decreases the number of hits) and the connector OR expands it (increases the number of hits). So the following strategies naturally follow:

  • If you are retrieving too many records on your topic, try adding another search term with the connector AND.
  • If you are retrieving too many records on an unrelated topic, try eliminating a word with the connector NOT
  • If you are retrieving too few records on your topic, try adding another search term with the connector OR.