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Controversial Issues: Articles

Narrowing or Broadening Your Search

To narrow or broaden your search, use one of the Boolean Operators -AND, OR, NOT- in combination with your search terms:

AND - finds results with your all search terms. AND narrows your search.

(Example: diabetes AND prevention)

OR - finds results with any of your search terms. OR broadens your search.

(Example: capital punishment OR death penalty)

NOT - finds results with only one of your search terms the NOT excludes search terms. NOT narrows your search (Example: Dogfighting NOT World War II)

Developing Search Terms

Search terms are keywords or concepts related to your topic.  Think about different words which describe your topic.  

Step 1: Think about your topic and develop some keywords.

capital punishment deters crime

Step 2: Brainstorm additional keywords.

Here are some synonyms that may be used instead of our original terms of "capital punishment", "deters", and "crime".

Capital Punishment



death penalty


capital offense




lethal injection




Step 3: Create your search by combining keywords using Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)

Step 4: Try different combinations of keywords to determine the best search strategies for returning relevant results.