Nesting search terms and the relevant boolean operators within brackets is a way of controlling the logic of the search.

Like a mathematical equation, a search statement is performed left to right.

If parentheses are used, the parts of the search contained within the parentheses are performed first. Typically, nesting is used to group synonyms, spelling variations or other alternate terms.

For example: ethics and (gamble or bet) will return different results from ethics and gamble or bet.

Without the brackets, the operators are performed in an illogical order so the search will return irrelevant results.

Activity

 Test your understanding of nesting

An interactive Venn diagram of three slightly overlapping dark circles labelled "ethics", "bet", and "gamble". Their common area (the correct response) is defined by the intersecting portions of "ethics and gamble" and "ethics and bet".