Skip to main content

Washington State University Libraries

Ask Us!

Information Literacy Research Skill Building: Help Searching: Narrowing Your Search Using the AND Command Podcast

This guide contains information literacy instructional materials based on the ACRL Information Literacy Standards.

Help Searching: Narrowing Your Search Using the AND Command Podcast

Focusing your search using AND


Today, we re gonna talk about focusing your search using the search command AND. If you are searching an article index, the online catalog, or the open web for something simple like the life and biology of Clownfish, you just need to type in clownfish to get something useful.

But you are usually looking for a more specific research topic. You want information about the symbiotic relationship between clownfish and sea anemones. It is just too time intensive and frustrating to search for clownfish and browse through articles and books till you find the ones that talk about its symbiotic relationship with sea anemones.

The search command AND (that is A N D) will allow you to focus your search on exactly what you want to know.

So you go to the search box and type in Clownfish AND anemones.

The search command AND tells the computer that you want it to find everything that has the word clownfish, but it should only give you items that also contain the word anemones.

This helped, but you are still getting too many documents that only mention the clownfish/anemone symbiotic relationship in passing.

Once again you can change your search to narrow your hits down to exactly what you are looking for.

Suppose that you are really interested in the fact that the clownfish keep the anemone clean by eating parasites that attack the anemone.

In this case you might type in

Clownfish AND Anemones AND parasites

This will give you articles that have the word clownfish, but only if it also has the word anemones in it. Since there is a third word ANDed into the search, the computer will look at what it found, and only give you the article if the word parasites is also there.

As you see, you can adjust your search strategy as you observe how your search is working for you.

The next time you have a complex search question, try using the search command AND to pull all the concepts you want into a single search. It should save you a lot of time. By the way, if you are searching google, make you type the “and” in caps.

Good searching

The Podcast

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us