Skip to main content OPRFHS Library Home Page

Baielli - Junior Theme Research: JSTOR Search Tips

Searching on JSTOR

Advanced Searching Tips on JSTOR

Boosting a Keyword Relevance in Search Results

·         You are able to increase the importance of any word in your search by using the caret (^), the symbol over the number 6 key, followed by a number that represents the rise in relevance.

·         For example: sugar^6 and slavery gives an occurrence of the word sugar six times more importance than the word slavery.

Combining Search Terms with AND, OR, NOT (Boolean logic)

·         When you combine keywords with AND, your results contain everything in which both keywords appear: witches and Europe

·         Using OR between keywords allows you to find all titles that contain either term: witches or witchcraft

·         Searches using NOT will only find titles that do not contain the keyword following it: witches and Europe not America

Searching for a Phrase

·         Use quotation marks (" ") to search for an exact phrase: "civil rights"

Searching for More than One Term

·         If you want to include more than one keyword or alternative keywords in a search with other keywords, use parentheses ( ) to enclose your keywords: (witches or witchcraft)

Searching for Plural Keywords

·         You are able to search for singular and plural forms of a keyword by adding an ampersand (&) to the end of the singular form of the keyword: witch& finds witch and witches


·         Wildcards take the place of one or more characters in a keyword. They are used to search for alternate spellings and variations on a root word.

·         A question mark (?) is used for single character searching: wom?n finds woman and women

·         An asterisk (*) is used for multiple character searching: slave* finds slave, slaves, slavery and other words that start with slave

Note: The closer to the start of a keyword you use the wildcard, the longer your search will take to process. Using multiple wildcards with a single keyword will also result in longer search times.

Grouping Combined Keywords

·         Parentheses allow you to determine the order in which keywords are combined.

·         The search: "currency reform" AND (russia OR "soviet union") will search for titles that contain the phrase currency reform and that contain either russia or soviet union.

·         Without grouping parentheses, the search is interpreted as "currency reform" AND russia OR "soviet union", which returns titles containing either both currency reform and russia or titles containing only soviet union.

"I'm looking for articles about witches in Europe, perhaps Germany, in the 16th century."

Examples may look like the following:

·         witch* and Europe and "16th Century"

·         (witch& or witchcraft) and (Europe or Germany) not America

·         witch* and "Early Modern Europe"