The building block of a library database search is keywords. Keywords are central ideas or terms within your research question or problem.
BOOLEAN SEARCH OPERATORS
Once you have your keywords identified (2-3 is a good place to begin), you then need to connect them together in a way the database understands how to search. This is done using the Boolean search operators AND, OR, and NOT. Connecting keywords using these search operators creates a search string.
We call the written version of your keywords with boolean search operators the search string. Writing your search string at the beginning of your research process will help you better approach searching in library databases.
Example search string
protagonist OR hero AND social class OR poverty AND Charles Dickens