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FEBE- Construction Management and Quantity Surveying: Online Search Tips

Guide to Information resources for Construction Management

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are used to string keywords. These operators are ANDOR and NOT.

Narrowing the search by using AND will give you a specific result:  both words will be present in the record, e.g. democracy AND Zimbabwe

Widening the search by using the Boolean operator OR is useful when you wish to combine alternative forms (synonyms) of the same term. Either or both of the words will be present in the record, e.g. (state OR country) (leader OR ruler).

Excluding references from the search by using the Boolean operator NOT will help you if you want to exclude references, e.g. pollution NOT oil; aids NOT children.

Phrase Searching: To do phrase searching, you enclose terms to be searched as a phrase in quotation marks. This holds the terms together as you have keyed them in, e.g. “South Africa”, “affirmative action”, “African National Congress”.

Truncation: This is allows you to search the “root” form of a word with all its different endings – it broadens your search, e.g. employ* will retrieve employ, employment, employee, employer, employees, employers, etc.

Wildcard: The wildcard is represented by a question mark (?). Enter your search terms and replace each unknown character with a ?, e.g. globali?ation. It then searches for globalisation and globalization, wom?n (women and woman)

Steps in Online Searching

Step 1: Think about your research topic.

 Step 2: Identify the main keywords and concepts

  Step 3: Locate and Access Resources

Step 4: Search for: 

  - Print & Online Books & Encyclopedias

  - Online databases for articles

Step 4: Make use of Boolean Techniques (AND, OR, NOT) when conducting a search

Step 5: Write your report. Ensure that you acknowledge your Resources (Cite & Reference)