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Search strategy

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  • 1. G.Rammiya MLIS, Pondicherry University.
  • 2. Introduction  Increasingly people are turning to the Internet to find information.  People often assume that they need no training to search the Internet and that technology does all the work.  In fact, a little time spent in formulating a search strategy will both save you  time and provide you with greatly improved results.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. 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
  • 5. Developing 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
  • 6. Search Techniques Several techniques for database, catalog and Internet searches include: o Boolean techniques o Truncation o Phrase Searching
  • 7. Boolean Searches  Developed by George Boole.  The power of Boolean searching is based on combinations of keywords with connecting terms called operators.  Allow you to broaden a search  Allow you to narrow a search  Designated differently in each search engine.
  • 8. Boolean Search  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.
  • 9. Boolean Search  AND: When you use “AND” between two terms, your results will include sources that show the two terms together in a source.
  • 10. Boolean Search  OR: Use “OR” to broaden your search by looking for several terms in a source whether they appear together or not.
  • 11. Boolean Search  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.
  • 12. Truncation o Use the root of a word to broaden your search responses. o Using the root Psych* will result in the following: o o o o o Psychology Psychological Psychologist Psychiatry Psychiatrist
  • 13. Wildcard Searches  A special symbol which allows you to  search simultaneously for several words  with the same stem, Educate* Educator, 2. Educators 3. Education 4. Educational. 1.
  • 14. Phrase Searching 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
  • 15. 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
  • 16. Conclusion 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 Use general and specific databases o Plan for enough time to return to research in case your approach changes or you need more information