Basic Search Strategies

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October 03, 2013

Basic Search Strategies

For use in LMU CV-Library's Information Literacy Tutorial

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phlipsmith

October 03, 2013
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  1. Carnegie Vincent Library Lincoln Memorial University Information Literacy Tutorial

  2.  Basic steps:  Select a database  Select keywords

    from research question  Expand your vocabulary using synonyms and related concepts  Construct search queries based on your keywords 2
  3.  These techniques should work in most library databases --

    and even in Google.  We will use Academic Search Premier for this example  Note that some databases may require additional steps or modifications. For more:  See our database tutorials  See the advanced search strategies slides
  4.  Start with your research question. For example: What affect

    do digital social networks have on personal communication skills?  Extract the key concepts from this statement.  Don’t have a research question?  See here for suggestions
  5. Highlight keywords, ignore small or filler words and broad or

    general words: What affect do digital social networks have on personal communication skills?  Digital social networks  Personal communication skills  It may help to search as phrases using quotes:  “digital social networks”  “personal communication skills”
  6. You could just search this in Academic Search Premier, but

    the results are disappointing:
  7.  Get more and better results by:  Brainstorming and

    listing synonyms, examples, and related concepts for each keyword and phrase.  Use personal experience, class notes, a thesaurus, reference databases (such as Gale Virtual Reference Library or Credo) or internet search engines such as Google to discover synonyms and related concepts
  8.  Digital social networks  Synonyms: online social networks 

    Examples: Facebook, twitter  Related concepts: social media  Personal communication skills  Synonyms: face-to-face  Examples: Talking, listening, eye contact, body language, non-verbal communication  Related concepts: Emotional intelligence
  9. None
  10. Keywords Synonyms/examples Related concepts Digital social networks Online social networks,

    Facebook, twitter Digital media, communications technology, privacy Personal communication skills Talking, listening, eye contact, etiquette, body language, non- verbal communication Emotional intelligence Synonyms are other terms or ways of expressing your keywords. Related concepts may be broader or narrower than your keyword.
  11.  Combine your keywords into search queries  Use Booleans

    (AND, OR, NOT) Keywords Synonyms/exampl es Related concepts Digital social networks Online social networks, Facebook, twitter Digital media, communications technology, privacy Personal communication skills Talking, listening, eye contact, etiquette, body language, non- verbal communication Emotional intelligence You may or may not want to search related concepts, depending on the topic and number of results
  12.  Use OR to connect synonyms and examples  (digital

    social networks OR online social networks OR facebook OR twitter)  (Personal communication skills OR talking OR listening OR eye contact OR etiquette OR body language OR non-verbal communication)  Use AND to connect these two:  (digital social networks OR online social networks OR facebook OR twitter) AND (Personal communication skills OR talking OR listening OR eye contact OR etiquette OR body language OR non-verbal communication)
  13. None
  14.  Try multiple searches:  If too few results, scope-out,

    broaden the search ▪ Add more synonyms using OR ▪ Remove search terms not connected with OR ▪ Search on related concepts  If too many results, focus the search ▪ Add more specific search terms ▪ Do not search related concepts  If too many irrelevant results ▪ Reformulate some of your search terms ▪ Refine or do not search irrelevant related concepts
  15.  This is what we do! 423.869.7079 library@lmunet.edu Subject-specific librarian

    contacts: http://library.lmunet.edu/librarypersonnel