AND - use this when ALL the words must be in your results. This will narrow your results. Example: apples AND oranges; peanut butter AND jelly
OR - use this to connect synonyms, when ANY can come back in your results. This will broaden a search. Example: women OR woman OR girl; cat OR kitty OR kitten
NOT - use with caution since this will eliminate results with the specified word.
Some databases provide an option to narrow your result list to articles from peer-reviewed, scholarly journals. When you select this option the database will filter out any books, articles published in popular or trade journals, audio and video files, etc. In the field of Education, Academic Search Complete, ERIC and Proquest Education Journals all have this option. Even when you know a journal is peer-reviewed, it does not mean that every article in that journal is of a "scholarly" level. Scholarly articles contain original research and are reviewed by a panel of experts before being published. However, book reviews or special feature sections, which are usually brief and offer opinions rather then original research, are not scholarly even though they may be published in a scholarly journal.
Your professor may also have specific criteria that you need to follow that is provided on your syllabus or during class.
Use the Scholarly Journal Checklist in the Important Forms box above.