Students surveys and scholarly journals report that students value the advanced search strategies they learn from librarians. AND and OR are remembered long after the semester is over.
It's tempting to cut this out of the lesson plan as searching Google becomes easier to use. However, students value it and can feel more precise and in control of their research.
Amount of Time: 5 minutes
Supplies Needed: Whiteboard or flipcharts, markers, willing participants
Citation: Sittler, R.L., & Cook, D. (Eds.). (2009). The library instruction cookbook (pp. 32-33). Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.
Description: The goal of this activity is to refine searches using Boolean logic without actually calling it Boolean logic. Choose some "search terms" and have students stand or sit based on if they meet the criteria. Use "AND" and "OR" with terms to demonstrate how to narrow or broaden a search. Write the search string on the board as the students play along. For example:
AND is used to narrow a search.
1 Stand if you are a college student
2 Remain standing if you are a college student AND you have brown hair
3 Remain standing if you are a college student AND have brown hair AND are male
Everyone that is left standing is a college student, has brown hair, and is male—they have all three characteristics.
OR is used to broaden a search.
1 Stand if you are wearing a necklace
2 Stand if you are wearing necklace OR ring
3 Stand if you are wearing necklace OR ring OR watch
Everyone that is standing wears some sort of jewelry, but it could be one of three types.
Use AND & OR to search in databases.AND will narrow your search; OR will broaden it.
Tip: *Could also ask students to throw out search terms (e.g., who's wearing a red shirt, who has freckles, etc.)*