Skip to main content

Illinois Tech Library Guides

Research Methods Class

Google Scholar

Boolean operators in Google

Traditional Boolean Operators and Their Google Counterparts
Traditional Boolean Operator Google Equivalent


Google uses an "implicit AND," meaning that all words that you place in a single search are searched as if there was an AND between them.



Use this if you're looking for a few different keywords for the same concept. It must be capitalized to work.


- (minus sign)

Put the minus sign directly in front of the word you want excluded from your search. For example: garden -beer would exclude results about beer gardens.


Also make use of parentheses if there is an "order of operations" to your search.

I’d like to search for results that discuss how to achieve a patina finish with copper metals, but not steel. I’d also like either oxidation or rust to be a word discussed. Which search should I use?
(oxidation OR rust) patina copper -steel: 3 votes (75%)
(Copper NOT steel) patina rust oxidation: 1 votes (25%)
(Metal rust OR oxidation -steel) copper patina: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 4

Other useful search operators

Search Operator Description Example
"   " (quotes) Searches for an exact phrase. "cognitive behavioral therapy" would retrieve only results with those three words present, in the order listed.
filetype: Placing this operator before the type of file you would like to retrieve.

A search for calendar filetype:xls retrieves calendar templates that you can download as Excel spreadsheets.

related: Put this operator directly before a web address that you already like and use. The results will retrieve similar sites for you to explore.

Searching for retrieves other social media sites.

HINT: try this with a favorite blog or recipe site to find more similar websites!

site: This allows you to search for a word or phrase on a specific site.  Searching for "academic calendar" helps you to find IIT's academic calendar quickly.


EXERCISE: Find PDF documents about a topic of your choice, but only from .edu websites.

Open Educational Resources/Free Sources

Chicago Collections Consortium