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FYS100D Tales of the Table - Fall 2016: Basic Search Techniques

Research Steps

 

Brainyism and Brainyology Today

Paul Noble

2000

 

  • Select an interesting and doable topic.
  • Identify each component of your topic.
  • Select appropriate terms to describe the components.
  • Determine the correct use of Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).
  • Select fields to search if appropriate (author, title, subject).
  • Limit your results as necessary (date, scholarly vs. popular, etc.).
  • Evaluate your results and rethink your strategy as necessary.

Basic Search Techniques

Keyword searching--Watch this tutorial from the University of Missouri-St. Louis

Boolean operators (AND, OR, AND NOT) These words are used to combine your search terms. Click here to see a video on Boolean search.

Truncation--Use the asterisk * to retrieve all variants of a word. For example, environ* will retrieve environment, environmentalist, environmental. But be careful! Con* will retrieve convict, contract, constitution and all other words that start that way. You will get many irrelevant items.  Video on truncation.

Phrase searching--If your search term is a phrase, e.g., critical thinking, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. "Critical thinking" is a more specific search than typing the words separately.  Video example.

Selecting Keywords