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Using the Library

Search MRU Library

Things to remember when using Library Search:

  1. Sign in to save searches, items, and to request materials.

  2. Use the pin icon to save books and articles. 

  3. Use the filters on the right. You will use Availability, Resource Type, and Date filters most often.

  4. Some items won't be available. You can request unavailable items using interlibrary loan.

  5. When viewing an item record, scroll down to the Get It or Full-Text section to get the item.

  6. Use the Virtual Browse when viewing a record of a print book to see books on the same topic

Search Operators

You can add search operators to a search to combine or omit different terms by telling the search engine exactly what you want. This can help you save some time (and frustration!)

  • Use quotation marks to keep phrases together.

    • For example, "scholarship of teaching and learning"

  • Use AND to combine search terms.

    • For example, biology AND teaching AND undergraduate

  • Use OR to connect two or more similar terms.

    • For example, "SoTL" OR "scholarship of teaching and learning"

  • Use NOT to omit unwanted results.

    • For example, "curriculum design" AND undergraduate NOT "K-12"

  • Use wild cards to substitute a letter or suffix with a symbol.

    • For example, technolog*

Helpful Search Operators to Use in Google Scholar

Google Scholar's Advanced Search is found by clicking the menu icon in the top left.

You can also add search operators to Google Scholar searches to build your own custom advanced searches in similar ways to LibrarySearch:

  • Use quotation marks to keep specific phrases together:

    • "students as partners"

  • Avoid using AND to combine search terms with Google Scholar, as the search engine automatically creates ANDs between concepts and sometimes adding an additional AND can confuse the search syntax.

  • Use OR to connect two or more similar terms:

    • "SoTL" OR "scholarship of teaching and learning"

  • Use wild cards to substitute a letter or suffix with a symbol:

    • ethic* (in this example, the search ethic* will search for records that contain strings such as ethics, ethical, and ethically)

  • Use intitle: to limit your search to search terms only appearing in the title of a resource:

    •  intitle:"students as partners"

  • Use filetype: to specify the type of file you would like to retrieve in your results:

    • filetype:pdf

  • Use site: to limit your search to specific web domains:



  • Combine operators to power search!

    • intitle:"SoTL" OR "scholarship of teaching and learning" "students as partners" ethic*

The University of Leeds Library breaks down the steps of how to refine your search very nicely.


University of Waterloo Library provides an extensive list of possible search terms to apply

Tips from a personal hero  - “SoTL is a strawberry field, and we need to look within a variety of patches" (MacMillan, 2016).  Try to think about your topic and possible terms by grouping them by phenomenon, population, methods & discipline.  

Example Question #1

What are strategies in assessing how a course assignment with a student activism component changes student's views on civic engagement?

  • "social activism" AND "course assignment" AND assessment
  • "civic engagement" AND "teaching and learning"    *(tip - I add terms like SoTL, Hutchings, etc, to ensure I am getting SoTL literature)
  • "letter writing" AND activism AND "course assignment" AND "academic performance"
  • "letter writing" AND activism AND likert AND teaching  *(add different assessment tools/methods to your search - eg: survey, qualitative interviews).

Example Question #2

What are Chemistry professor's perceptions of undergraduate student learning and retention?

  • chemistry AND "student learning" AND (faculty OR professors)
  • Chemistry AND "faculty perceptions" AND "student learning" AND STEM
  • interviews AND "chemistry professors" AND "student learning" 

SoTL Journals by Discipline