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To get an overview of scientific literature on a certain topic, therefore, it’s better to use a bibliographic database.
By default, Google Scholar searches in the full text of publications.
Advanced searching allows you to limit your search to specific fields (title, author, a particular journal and date), but you can’t limit your search to e.g.
If using Boolean logic correctly is challenging for students, is poorly used, and has no clear advantage in using it to retrieve relevant results, why are we trying to teach it to first-year, introductory students?
This study sought to answer the question: Was there any advantage, based on the relevance of search results, to teaching Boolean to first-year students?
Librarians and other information professionals are taught the value of Boolean searching (referred to throughout this article interchangeably as “Boolean”) in professional education, and it is seen in instruction, reference interactions, and database interfaces.
However, the concept can be difficult for first-year (introductory) students to grasp, and it can take multiple sessions before a student demonstrates effective use of Boolean logic.For students, it is not always clear that using Boolean logic is better than a natural language or phrase search in the style of Google.Anecdotally, librarians have seen students’ natural language searches yield relevant results explaining why students often find Boolean searching superfluous.Since their creation in the 1990s, natural language search algorithms have improved dramatically.However, there have not been any recent studies evaluating the efficacy of natural language searching compared to Boolean searching, and many of the older studies were from an information retrieval, rather than a pedagogical, perspective.Anecdotally, the authors have worked at multiple institutions and taught Boolean regularly, generally introducing the concept at the first-year (introductory) level, and building on that in upper-level classes.Interestingly, while the ACRL Standards specifically mention Boolean, the new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education only refers to searching (controlled vocabulary, keywords, natural language).A student’s ability to use Boolean operators is a performance indicator within the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.These standards, though rescinded in 2016, influenced IL education across the United States and beyond for more than fifteen years.If you use Google Scholar from the WUR Library website, you automatically get access to the sources that are part of the WUR collections, if you are on campus.When you work from the Google Scholar website, make sure that it makes a link to WUR Library to give you easy access to the licensed sources.