• Keep your initial search simple—single words or short phrases. In database, set the limit for “Full Text” right away, but save other limits (such as date ranges, peer-reviewed, etc.) until you see the results list.
• Look for common database tools (suggested subject headings, abstracts, citation help, emailing and save options) on the edges of the page, often in a color bar above the search boxes or in a separate frame on the right or left of your results list.
Truncation allows you to search variables of a word by typing part of the word plus an asterisk *
ADOPT finds just adopt, but ADOPT* finds adopted, adopting, adoptions, etc.
WOMAN finds just woman, but WOM*N finds woman and women.
Enclose your words in quotation marks to create a phrase search.
CHILDREN OF MEN finds titles with any combination of those common words.
"CHILDREN OF MEN" finds the book and movie with that exact title.
Look for proximity search options.
Many CFCC databases offer proximity searching by typing multiple search terms within a single search box (with no quotation marks).
Google also uses a variation of proximity searching, giving more relevance to words typed in a single search box if they appear near each other in the results.
Use the right Boolean operator.
• Use the right Boolean operator--usually AND--to link two search terms. Using OR often results in a large number of unrelated (and less useful) results. Using AND assures that both of your search terms will appear in the same document.
Want more information about Boolean searching?
This short video (~1min) will teach you some search strategies to help you get the best results.
Types of Sources
Summary: We live in an age overflowing with sources of information. With so many information sources at our fingertips, knowing where to start, sorting through it all and finding what we want can be overwhelming! This handout provides answers to the following research-related questions: Where do I begin? Where should I look for information? What types of sources are available?
The amount of information can be overwhelming and confusing. This section provides a list of common types of sources and what information you can discover from each.
Books & Textbooks: Books come in a multitude of topics. Because of the time it takes to publish a book, books usually contain more dated information than will be found in journals and newspapers.
Newspapers: Predominately covering the latest events and trends, newspapers contain very up-to-date information. Newspapers report both information that is factual in nature and also share opinions. Generally, however, they will not take a “big picture” approach or contain information about larger trends.
Academic and Trade Journals: Academic and trade journals are where to find the most up-to-date information and research in industry, business, and academia. Journal articles come in several forms, including literature reviews which overview about current and past research, articles on theories and history, or articles on specific processes or research.
Government Reports and Legal Documents: The government releases information intended for its own use or for public use. These types of documents can be an excellent source of information. An example of a government report is the U.S. Census data. Most government reports and legal documents can now be accessed online.
Press Releases and Advertising: Companies and special interest groups produce texts to help persuade readers to act in some way or inform the public about some new development
Flyers, Pamphlets, Leaflets: While some flyers or pamphlets are created by reputable sources, because of the ease in which they are created, many less-than-reputable sources also produce these. They are useful for quick reference or very general information.
Multimedia: Printed material is certainly not the only option for finding research. Also consider media sources such as radio and television broadcasts, interactive talks, and public meetings.
Websites: Most of the information on the Internet is distributed via websites. Websites vary widely in quality of information and validity of sources.
Weblogs / Blogs: A rather recent development in web technology, weblogs or blogs are a type of interactive journal where writers post and readers respond. They vary widely in quality of information and validity of sources. For example, many prestigious journalists and public figures may have blogs, which may be more credible of a blog than most.
Message boards, discussion lists, and chat rooms: Discussion lists, chat rooms, and message boards exist for all kinds of disciplines both in and outside of the university. However, plenty of boards exist that are rather unhelpful and poorly researched.
Multimedia: The Internet has a multitude of multimedia resources including online broadcasts and news, images, audio files, and interactive websites.
Contributors:Dana Lynn Driscoll, Karl Stolley
Last Edited: 2010-04-17 06:09:50
From Purdue OWL https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/552/03/