Skip to Main Content

*Environmental Studies

A guide for starting your research in Environmental Studies.

Search Strategies

There are a number of search strategies you can use in Library OneSearch and our library databases to help improve your search results.

Phrase Searching

Put quotation marks (" ") around search terms to search for them as a phrase. Example: "carbon emissions."

Boolean Logic (AND/OR/NOT)

  • Use AND to narrow your search results (e.g., "hover flies" AND mimicry). Your search results will include both terms.
  • Use OR to broaden your search results. (e.g., "climate change" OR "global warming"). Your search results will include either term.
  • Use NOT to filter out results that contain terms you're not interested in.


Use the asterisk symbol (*) to retrieve variant endings of a search term. Example: ecolog* will retrieve ecology, ecologist, ecological, etc.

Author Name

Authors may publish their works under different names or variations of the same name over the course of their lifetimes. Try searching for different combinations of an author's name or try using some of the advanced search features in our databases to search by an author's institutional affiliation (e.g., Brandeis) or their ORCID ID, if they have one.

Grouping Keywords

Use parentheses ( ) around your search terms to group them together. Example: (crows OR corvids) AND vocalization will return items that mention either crows or corvids and vocalization.

Proximity Searching

This feature is useful if you want to specify your search terms' proximity to each other. The formatting for this feature differs between databases, so check the database's help page if you're not sure what format to use. Here's the formatting you would use in some of our library's databases to search for the word feminist within 4 words of the word ecology:

  • Scopus: feminist W/4 ecology
  • Agricola: feminist N/4 ecology
  • GreenFILE: feminist N4 ecology will find the words if they're a maximum of four words apart from each other, regardless of their order. Feminist W4 ecology will find the words if they're within four words from each other, and in the exact order that you entered them.