Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas University

HDFS 585 & HDFS 590 - Professional Seminar/Professional Capstone in HDFS

A resource for students in HDFS 585 & 590, and starting their professional careers

The need for OR

One of the major challenges of searching is choosing what terms to type. You might be tempted to simply type the sort of sentence you might say to a person, e.g., “what techniques can I use to reduce aggression in a toddler?” But in many databases that will either produce no results or far too many results (as the screenshot below demonstrates). A better strategy is to identify the important words in your topic and express one concept per row on an advanced search screen.


How to use OR

Manipulating your search using Boolean terms can increase the number of relevant results returned. 


This, for example, is a somewhat better way to enter our search into PsycInfo. 


An even better way is to think of synonyms or related terms for each of our main concepts and enter those on the same row by linking them with OR. Some databases such as PsycInfo, give you extra boxes that are already linked with or. If you need more “ors,” you can add them within a box.