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Search Strategies When you need to find information, what do you do? This workshop will show you how to look for materials to help you successfully complete.

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Presentation on theme: "Search Strategies When you need to find information, what do you do? This workshop will show you how to look for materials to help you successfully complete."— Presentation transcript:

1 Search Strategies When you need to find information, what do you do? This workshop will show you how to look for materials to help you successfully complete your research assignments. Coconino Community College Information Resources & Library Services Developed by CCC Library Staff Revised January 2010

2 Search Strategies o Determine your topic o Formulate a working thesis o Check for background information o Develop a list of keywords and phrases o Search in databases, on the Internet, in library catalogs o Evaluate resources o Keep publication/origination information organized

3 Determine Your Topic o The course and assignment will guide your choice of a topic o A topic that is interesting to you often works best o A very broad topic may need narrowing o A very specific topic may need expansion

4 Formulate A Working Thesis o A thesis states the focus of a paper o A thesis can change during the development of the paper o Sometimes your research will indicate a different approach o Revision of the thesis can occur at any point in the research and writing process

5 Background Information o Encyclopedias, textbooks, dictionaries and periodicals provide background information for your research topic o These sources help develop a list of keywords to use for searching in databases, library catalogs, indexes and on the Internet

6 Keywords o To develop a list of keywords, write down as many different terms related to your topic as you can think of o Make the list as varied as possible o You can combine keywords in your searches o Use a thesaurus, your textbook, and encyclopedias for ideas o Generate a list of 12 to 20 words

7 Sample Keywords (Topic = Banned Books) o Banned o Books o Titles o Libraries o Language o Constitution o Freedom of Speech o Intellectual Freedom o Censorship o Obscenity o Racism o Nudity o Shakespeare o Mark Twain o Leaves of Grass o Catcher in the Rye

8 Search Techniques Several techniques for database, catalog and Internet searches include: o Boolean techniques o Truncation o Phrase Searching

9 Boolean search techniques work in databases and on the Internet. Use keywords in a variety of ways to refine your search. A and B stand for key words or phrases. The words “AND,” “OR” and “NOT” are called logical operators. Boolean Search

10 AND: When you use “AND” between two terms, your results will include sources that show the two terms together in a source. OR: Use “OR” to broaden your search by looking for several terms in a source whether they appear together or not. NOT: Allows you to reduce the number of results you get from a search. This can be helpful if you want to exclude results related to your topic but not relevant to your thesis. Boolean Search

11 Truncation o Use the root of a word to broaden your search responses. o Using the root Psych* will result in the following: o Psychology o Psychological o Psychologist o Psychiatry o Psychiatrist

12 o Using quotation marks (“”) makes it possible to search for important phrases instead of individual keywords o Phrase: “San Francisco Earthquake” o As Keywords: San Francisco and Earthquake o Phrase: “Welfare Reform” o As Keywords: Welfare and Reform o Phrase: “Community College” o As Keywords: Community and College Phrase Searching

13 Examples o Using AND, OR, NOT, with * and “” o “Coll*” AND “Welfare Reform” OR poverty NOT welfare o Some databases or search engines may use symbols in place of the Boolean terms: o “Distance learning” + (and) technology - (not) computers

14 Internet o The Internet can be useful as a research tool o The large majority of Internet sites are for commercial purposes and frequently are less valuable as a source of information o Unlike databases, no authoritative entity reviews and evaluates material on the Internet o The researcher must carefully evaluate information retrieved from the Web

15 Internet Search Suggestions: o Try different search engines o Use a variety of keywords o Use Boolean techniques, truncation and phrase searching o Carefully evaluate web sites o For more on evaluating web sites, visit the CCC Library “Handouts & Workshops” page and review “Critical Thinking and Evaluating Web Sites” handout o Use the search engine “Help” menu to save time

16 Library Catalog o Library catalogs allow a student to search for all types of materials o Available resources include books, periodicals, audio/video resources, databases, web sites and other electronic resources o Electronic catalog searches help with time management

17 Evaluating Sources When evaluating any resource, consider: o Author’s bias, perspective o Type of source o Credentials of author o Credibility of the information o Use of language o Timeliness o Relevance to your topic

18 Tips for Research o In general, it is better to have more information than too little o Look for a variety of materials o Use a variety of keywords o Look at the works authors use in their resource lists o Use general and specific databases o Plan for enough time to return to research in case your approach changes or you need more information

19 Local Library Resources o Visit the CCC Library for more research tools at o o Use the research tools at Cline Library o Enjoy the resources at Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library Downtown and East branch locationshttp://www.flagstaffpubliclibrary.org/ o View the collection at Page Public Library

20 For More Information o On the web: o Phone: o We are located in Building One on the Lone Tree Campus in Flagstaff o Visit the Learning Enhancement Center on the Lone Tree Campus in Building One o Visit Learning Support Services on the Fourth Street Campus in Flagstaff o Visit the Learning Enhancement Center on the Page Campus


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