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JSTOR: Basic search

How to search Jstor database

Quick Search

The Basic Search form appears on the main page of and also at the top of most content pages on the site. You can type any search terms into the Basic Search box and JSTOR will search for those terms across all of the content licensed or purchased by the library.

Here are a few things you can do to easily improve your search results:

  • Place words within quotation marks to search for exact phrases (“to be or not to be”).
  • Use Boolean operators to search for alternate terms (microcredit OR microfinance).
  • Use ti: to search for the title of an article or book (ti:"body ritual among the nacirema")

While we call the simple search form a "Basic Search," you can perform fairly complex queries with it using special codes and Boolean operators. These options are explained in more detail below.

Combining Search Terms & Boolean Logic

You may combine search terms and fields using AND, OR, and NOT (Boolean logic).

AND: When you combine search terms with AND in a full-text search, your results contain everything in which both terms appear. Combining search terms makes your search results more precise. You can explicitly denote AND in the following ways: cat AND dogcat && dog+cat +dog(cat dog)

OR: Using OR between search terms allows to you find all items that contain either term. Using OR will search for items that contain either the word "cat", the word "dog", or both. For example: cat OR dog

NOT: Searches using NOT will only find items that do not contain the search term following it. NOT must be capitalized. To find all items with the word cat that do not contain the word dog, search for: cat NOT dogcat -dog (Be sure to include a space before the dash, but not after). 

Grouping Combined Search Terms

Parentheses allow you to determine the order in which terms are combined. The search "currency reform" AND (russia OR "soviet union") will search for items 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 items containing either both currency reform and russia or containing soviet union. By using parentheses, you may control the grouping of search terms.

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