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OR (Expanding or broadening your search results)

The opposite of the AND search operator is OR.  OR is used when you want to find results that contain either term rather than both terms.

For example, if we were to search for the same terms - change, employees - but connect them with an OR:

change OR employees

The search tool would find records that contain either of these terms.  In other words, it will find records that contain:

  • only the term change (but not employees)
  • only the term employees (but not change)
  • both the terms change and employees

Although using OR in the excample above would not be helpful, the OR operator can in fact be very helpful when you want to search for synonyms or related terms or variations in spelling.  For example, the following searches might be useful:

employees OR staff OR personnel

organization OR organisation


Complex search strings: Using both AND and OR

You can express complex search ideas by combining AND and OR.  For example, you can combine the above searches into one "search string" as follows:

change AND (employees OR staff OR personnel) AND (organizational OR organisational)

The results of the above search must contain:

  • the term: change
  • one or more of the terms: employee, staff, personnel
  • one or both of the terms: organizational, organisational