Using Boolean operators in a database is highly recommended, as this approach usually generates the most useful results. Databases are not "intuitive" like search engines (e.g., Google) - they must be "told" how to process a search query. Boolean operators let you "tell" the database what you want to see in your results.
Use AND to connect KEYWORDS - Retrieves sources with both/all terms [refines search]
Example: baseball AND America AND culture
Use OR to connect SYNONYMS & LIKE CONCEPTS - Retrieves sources with either/any term(s) [broadens search]
Example: baseball AND (female OR women) AND managers
Use NOT to EXCLUDE word(s) - Eliminates sources with the word(s) following NOT
Example: bats NOT mammals
When you are conducting your background research on your topic, consider the who, what, when, where and why of what you are reading, and highlight or write the main points down. You can use those as keywords in the databases!
Database Video Tutorials
Reference Databases (Gathering Background Information)