This Boolean demonstration provides a simple example of how boolean connectors can help focus your search as finitely as possible.
Your research topic: television violence
You do a separate search for each keyword and get back the following results:
Television = 999
Violence = 876
That's a lot to wade through.
Select 'AND,' 'OR,' or 'NOT' to see how that Boolean connector will affect this search.
You use 'AND' to connect terms or phrases.
We have two words 'television' and 'violence.' To connect them we use the Boolean connector 'AND'. Compare the results of the search options below:
Result: A circle balloons until it fills about half the play area. As it gets bigger we see the word 'television' appear. When it's finished generating the results show up '=999 results'.
Result: A circle balloons until it fills about half the play area. As it gets bigger we see the word 'violence' appear. When it's finished generating the results show up '=876 results'.
Result: The two circles balloon until they fill the play
area as in those above. As they get bigger we see the words 'television'
and 'violence' appear. When they're finished generating the results show
up as above, plus, the same in between the two circles is a different
color and it reads as followings:
AND =123 results
You use 'OR' to search for multiple terms or phrases.
You've decided to focus on how violence on television affects a specific age group. That is, teenagers. But in your searches you've encountered another term that's frequently used: "adolescents.'
So, in order to get information that uses either term, you'd use the OR connector.
Result: Both circles balloon until they fill the play area as above. As they get bigger we see the words 'teenager' and 'adolescent' appear. When they're finished generating the results show up as above.
Next 'OR' appears between them, and the two circles come towards one another. The text 'teenager, 75 result' and 'adolescent 97 results' stay where they are. As the circles merge (and change into a new color) the 'OR' disappears behind them. When the merging has finished, the following text appears in the middle of the new circle.
Teenager OR Adolescent
75 + 97 = 172 results
the 'teenager = 75 results' and 'adolescent =97 results' should now be outside the circle to the left and right.
You use 'NOT' to exclude terms or phrases.
In one of your searches you use "high school" as a keyword phrase. You notice that you get many results which cover both high school and elementary school. The main emphasis of your research, as you've followed the process, has turned towards how television violence affects students in high school.
So, in order to eliminate unwanted results you use the NOT connector.
The circle to the left balloons. As it gets bigger we see the words 'high schools' appear. When it's finished generating the results show up as follows. High school = 423 results.
The circle to the right balloons. As it gets bigger we see the words 'elementary' appear. When it's finished generating the results show up as follows. Elementary = 652 results.
Both circles balloon until they fill the play area as above. When it's finished generation the results appear as above, but where the circles overlap it reads: NOT = 148 exclusions.
Next the 'elementary' circle and the NOT overlap move away from the high school circle. The NOT area like a bite taken out of the 'high school' circle.
When the elementary circle and the NOT bite stop, the results in the high
school circle change to:
High school NOT elementary 423 - 148 exclusions = 275
In excluding all references to 'high school' in combination with 'elementary' you get 275 results in which high school is only mentioned.