Welcome to the EDCP 100 research guide. This guide will assist you in locating, evaluating, and using scholarly resources for EDCP 100-Principles and Strategies of Successful Learning. Here you will find listed a variety of resources to help you as you conduct your research specifically for this class.
Searching Tips and Techniques
Searching Tips and Techniques
How do I search?
Learning the basics of how to search will save you much time and frustration. These tips and techniques are the same for any research you may be doing, no matter what the topic might be.
Finding and Combining Search Terms:
Determining the correct search terminology is “half the battle.” To begin this process list possible search terms and include any synonyms, using OR between each word. For example, if you are searching for information regarding Andre Norton you will also want to include her real name as well as her alias. Your search could look like this:
norton, andre OR norton, alice
If you want more than one term to be included in your search use AND between the terms. For example, if you want to locate research on literary criticism for Andre Norton your search will look like this:
"literary criticism" AND norton, andre OR norton, alice
[NOTE: Some databases are not set up to automatically phrase search. The quotation marks serve to designate a phrase.]
There may be times when you need to exclude a term in order to focus your search. For example, perhaps you want to exclude her series Witch World. Your search will look like this:
"literary criticism" AND norton, andre OR norton, alice NOT "witch world "
Some databases may require that you use parentheses to group terms, especially when using OR. Then our search, using parentheses, will look like this:
("literary criticism" OR "literary interpretation") AND norton, andre OR norton, alice
Terms inside the parentheses are searched first. If more than one set of parentheses are included, usually the one on the left is searched first.
[NOTE: When using the advanced search format of most databases, parentheseses are not necessary because there is a search box for each search term and its synonyms.]
Another useful trick is to truncate the search term.
- The usual symbol is an asterisk (*), but check the database HELP screen for to determine the symbol for that database.
- This will retrieve results with all possible word endings but, it can also add unrelated items to your results.
- Some databases may not allow truncated words if the results are too large. If this happens add more of the root word.
The search example will now look like this:
("literar* critic*" OR "literar* interpret*") AND norton, andre OR norton, alice
If you are unsure of the correct vocabulary for a particular database, begin with a keyword search, sometimes referred to as default.
- Keyword searching looks for the term anywhere in the record, includeding in the title, abstract, full-text or subject terms.
- This type of search usually brings back too many records, many of which may prove to be totally unrelated,
- Keyword searching may be the only option when a concept is so new that standardized vocabulary has not yet been developed.
You will find more focused results using the vocabulary that the database uses, usually referred to as the subject or descriptor.
- A subject/descriptor search looks only for results with that specified terms in the subject/descriptor field.
- lf you are unsure of the specific subject/descriptor term try a keyword search. Then open the record for an article that addresses your subject and look at the terms the database uses to describe the content.
Some databases also include an online thesaurus, which provides a way of entering a possible search term to determine what term(s) the database uses for your suggested term. This is especially useful as a way of finding related terms that you may not have considered.