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Library Research Guides

UC 151 Medical Ethics

A course guide for students in Medical Ethics.

2. Consider Specific Search Techniques

These search techniques can be used in any database or search engine.


Synonyms are used to cover a topic thoroughly. 

patient opinion policy drugs
patient advocacy health policy pharmaceuticals


Boolean operators such as AND & OR are used to connect synonyms & concepts.

  • Use OR to connect synonyms to appropriately expand your search for a concept. Your search results will contain citations for each term.  Place parentheses around the search terms when you use OR so that the database searches them together. 

  • Use AND to connect concepts.  This will narrow your search results, giving you just the articles that include all terms, that is,  the intersection of the search terms you've used.  Remember:  Databases assume AND between terms, so you don't have to use it.

  • Always capitalize boolean operators; if you don't, they'll be ignored.

With OR, your results will increase, including articles with each term and with both.          
With AND, your results will decrease, including only articles with at least one term from each concept.