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JSTOR: Intro & Search Tips

Get help using JSTOR !

How to Search

Before you start, there are a few different ways to search JSTOR

Basic Search:

This a quick place to start--enter search words/terms in the search box on the JSTOR homepage. This will search all documents in the database and will likely return a high number of results.

Advanced Search 

We recommend starting with the Advanced Search. This way you can build more specific searches and limit results by publication type--resulting in a smaller number of results that are more relevant.

Browse by:

Subject: A small list of subjects/disciplines

Clicking on a subject takes you to a list of journals on that particular general subject where you can search within the subject. 

Title: A title list of all journals, books, pamphlets, and research reports--not article titles 

Unless you are looking for a specific journal or eBook, avoid browsing by title.

Publisher: list of organizations that publish materials featured in JSTOR.

Ignore this search option, unless you have a specific reason to use it!

Multiple Terms

AND, OR, and NOT (Boolean Operators)

The words AND, OR, and NOT are used to connect and define the relationship between your search terms. Using Boolean operators can help to narrow or broaden your search.


  • AND: United Kingdom AND England (searches for both the United Kingdom and England)
  • OR: college OR  university (searches for either term)
  • NOT: Nuremberg NOT trial (searches for results containing the word Nuremberg, but will exclude any records which contain the word trial)

Grouping Search Terms

Quotation Marks

Put quotation marks around terms to search for an exact phrase rather than part of the term.

Example: instead of searching for bubonic plague, search for "bubonic plague" this will find results where the two words are next to each other.

Parentheses (aka nesting)

Nesting is putting parentheses around terms while using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)  to create more complex searches

Example: (women OR woman OR female) AND leadership.

Alternate Spellings

Using Wildcards

Wildcards search for alternate spellings and variations on a root word and take the place of one or more characters in a search term.

Using wildcards can help you find variants of a search term; however, it will return a very large number of results. Wildcard characters cannot be used in place of the first letter of a word or within an exact phrase search. 

Common wildcards: 

Tilde symbol (~)

You can find words with spellings similar to your search term by using the tilde (~) symbol at the end of a search term.

Example: Searching for dostoyevsky~ helps find items with dostoyevsky, as well as variant spellings like dostoevsky, dostoievski, dostoevsky, dostoyevski, dostoevskii, dostoevski, etc.

Asterisk (*)

Used for searching for words with the same root spelling. 

Example: Searching for behavior* searches for behavior, behavioral, behaviorist, behaviorism, or behaviorally. 

Question mark (?)

Used for single character searching.

Examples: Searching for wom?n finds the words woman, women, womyn and searching for organi?ation finds organization or organisation.