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Writing the Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography? How do you write one? What purpose does it serve?

Search Strategies

  • Make use of keywords
  • Use quotation marks when you are searching for a phrase
  • Boolean searching is your friend. AND, OR and NOT can be used to connect your search terms and phrases, and will help improve your results

What is a Boolean Search?


Computers use boolean logic to decide if a statement is true or false.  "False" is related to value, and not  truth in a philosophical sense.  The operators related to this are: AND, OR and NOT.  

For you, in your research what will this mean?  You will be able to use AND, OR and NOT in search engines and databases when researching your topics, in order to better control your results. 

The easiest thing to remember is that using AND, will narrow your pool of results.  

The OR operator will widen your pool of results.

The NOT operator will exclude items from your results.  


Look at the diagram above:  

If you were looking for information on a creature that is Undead AND Can Fly AND Drinks Blood, it narrows your options considerably in the chart.  Only Vampires fit all of those qualifications.

If you are looking for creatures who Can Fly OR Drink Blood, it widens it considerably:  You will now find this is covered under the draugr, ghostshousefly, mosquitoes, chupacabras, leeches, mosquitoes and vampires and even Superman..

If you decide to search for creatures that Can Fly AND Drink Blood who are NOT Undead then only mosquitoes fit that description.

Boolean logic. (2011). In National Geographic (Ed.), The big idea: How breakthroughs of the past shape the future. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society. Retrieved from


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