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2.3.3 Mathematical operators

Identify and obtain  information
2.1 Define your search terms
2.2 An example search strategy
2.3 Search strategies
  2.3.1 Keyword or subject searching?
  2.3.2 Boolean operators
  * 2.3.3 Mathematical operators
  2.3.4 Nesting
  2.3.5 Phrase searching
  2.3.6 Truncation and wildcards
2.3.7 Prepare a search strategy
2.4 Select an appropriate tool
2.5 Keep up to date
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Some databases and Internet search tools use mathematical operators to combine search terms.

Mathematical operators are the plus symbol (+) and the minus symbol (-).

The plus symbol (+) in front of a term (no spaces) requires that term to be in the returned record and is therefore similar in concept to the AND operator.

For example: (+ethics +gambling) finds records containing both terms.

The minus symbol (-) in front of a term requires that word to be excluded from the search results and therefore is similar in concept to the NOT operator.

For example: (beverages -alcohol) excludes any record containing the term alcohol.

Note: Remember to check the Help screens of the search tool to determine what operators are valid.

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 Last modified 16-Feb-2006
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