Info searchstrategies


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  • In real life searching, we often begin with just one feature of a broad topic, or just one relevant reference, and then move through a variety of sources until we develop our question or thesis. Each new piece of information we encounter gives us new ideas and directions to follow, and consequently, a new conception of our question. At every stage, we don’t just modify the search terms used to get better results, but the search itself changes and evolves. At each stage, with each different conception of our question, we find useful information and references. IN other words, our question or thesis isn’t satisfied by one set of results, but by a whole series of selections with individual references and bits of info at every stage of the way. Mary Jane Bates has termed this model the ‘Berrypicking’ model of search, and defines it as “a bit-at-a-time retrieval” and likens it to picking blueberries in the forest. “The berries are scattered on the bushes, they do not come in bunches. One must pick them one at a time.” Users employ a number of berrypicking strategies…
  • I’ll explain these in the next slides…
  • Following up on footnotes found in books and articles of interest, and therefore moving backward in successive leaps through reference lists. Very popular in sciences and humanities. Look at your textbook and the syllabus for your course to start.
  • Also called ‘Forward chaining’ . The user begins with a citation and finds out who has cited it by looking up the original citation in Web of Science or Google Scholar (for quick and dirty). People who cite other folks are working on related problems, and might shed some light on a question from a different perspective. This allows the searcher to leap forward in time.
  • If you know the ‘central’ or core journals in a discipline or field, then you can either browse the issues (either in print or online) or search within the journal. The core journals in a subject area are going to have very high rates of relevant materials in that area.
  • Library databases index the journals and sometimes the books in a particular field. Items that are indexed are assigned subject terms to group them with other related items. Examples of databases for education are ERIC, Education Research Complete, and Education Full Text.
  • When a researcher uses an author name to see if the author has done any other work on the same topic, can be very effective. Listen during lectures for names that your profs mention – good clues as to who is researching in field.
  • Info searchstrategies

    1. 1. Information search strategies Linda Neyer, April 2013 Copyright Rubyfen, 2012, Flickr.
    2. 2. 5 ‘berrypicking’ strategies:• Footnote chasing (or backward chasing)• Citation searching (or forward chaining)• Author searching• Journal run• Subject searches in library databases Bates MJ. (1989) .“The Design of Browsing and Berrypicking Techniques.” Online Information Review13 (5): 407-424.
    3. 3. Footnote chasing Copyright Caravanum, 2010, Flickr
    4. 4. Citation searching Copyright Clearly Ambiguous, 2004, Flickr
    5. 5. Journal run Copyright the.Firebottle, 2006, Flickr
    6. 6. Subject searches in library databases Copyright by FindYourSearch, 2012, Flickr
    7. 7. Author searching Copyright Jack Dorsey, 2006, Flickr
    8. 8. On to the berries! Copyright Noah Susman, 2011, Flickr