Research Advisory Service
Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).
Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)
This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.
Using Boolean Operators & Truncation
- AND, OR, NOT, W/# (for within or nearby a certain number or words in the full-text)
- Example: African Americans AND masculinity
- Ex: African Americans OR Blacks
- Ex: African American NOT African
- Ex: Spike Lee W/10 cinema
- Most catalogs & databases use *, ?, # symbols to truncate (shorten) words
- Be careful not to truncate a word too short, some entries will be unrelated to your search
- Can be used at the end of a word and internally too
- Example: Educat* = education, educator, educators
- Ex: Wom?n = woman, women
- Ex: S*nk = sink, sank, sunk
Ask a Librarian 24/7 Chat
You can type your question directly into this chat window to chat with a librarian. Your question may be answered by a reference librarian from Berkeley, from another UC campus, or another academic library elsewhere in the US. We share information about our libraries to make sure you get good answers.
If the librarian can't answer you well enough, your question will be referred to a Berkeley librarian for follow-up.
Have fun chatting!
Library Workshop: Research 101
Unsure how to start a paper or research project? Think maybe you could stand to brush up on search strategies?
If this sounds familiar, Library Workshop: Research 101 has you covered. This interactive tutorial explores six stages of the research process. You can view it from start to finish, or focus on specific sections as needed:
Starting strategies, from choosing a topic to finding the right keywords.