School of Professional Studies: Searching the Libraries

A guide to Columbia University Libraries for the School of Professional Studies.

Finding and Using Library Materials

Search Tips

Boolean Operators

Use Boolean operators AND, NOT, and OR to make your search more narrow (AND), more broad (OR), or to exclude a particular word or phrase (NOT).

Image description: Three Venn diagrams on a white background. Each Venn diagram has the circle on the left labled "puppy" and the circle on the right labelled "kitten." The first Venn diagram is titled "AND," and the middle portion is highlighted to indicate search results the include "puppy and kitten" or both terms. The second Venn diagram is title "OR," and the both circles are highlighted to indicate search results for "puppy or kitten" or either term. The last Venn diagram is titled "NOT," and the first cricle is highlighted to indicate search results for "puppy NOT kitten" or just one term. /End image description

Advanced Search Tips

  • Use “quotation marks” for exact phrases (“South Park”)
  • Use * to find plurals and variants (*celeration will find acceleration and deceleration; child* will find children, childhood).
  • Citation chasing – use the bibliographies of useful articles to locate other articles and authors to search
  • Cited by – most databases will now give you information on articles that cite the article you are looking at. This is very useful not only in finding other relevant research, but also to determine how influential that work has been in the field.

Where to Search for Articles

Finding Data

Research Data Services

For demographic data, please see the "Business Information" tab of this guide.