Constructing your search

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Mini slideshow for use in web pages at http://www.dur.ac.uk/library/research/doing/findinginfo/searching/tools/

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  • Example in image: if you get the reference, it is far more likely that the little storm troopers will got lots of information telling them about what droids they are not looking for.

    Google will find you stuff… but it may not be the best or most appropriate results.

    (Other metaphor – Google is a Golden Retriever: Ever so keen to bring you back the stick you throw. It might not be the stick you thrw or expected to come back, so an enthusiastic puppy just wants to please you and will bring you any old stick it finds anyway)

    Google does cope better with typing in a sentence or question than many academic databases, but as professional researchers it is not the best way of searching and you should be trying more appropriate techniques, and many of the databases you may need to, or should be using, will not work very well or at all if you search in this way.
  • BROADENING YOUR SEARCH
    - this is about being comprehensive, rather than focussing to precisely to start with.
    - This is about ensuring you don’t inadvertently miss anything.

    NARROWING YOUR SEARCH
    - once you have ensured your search can be as comprehensive as possible, you then need to make sure you focus it to help filter out the ‘noise’ and to just return the most relevant results.
    - This is about ensuring you use your reading time most efficiently.

  • Example in image: Baseball glove… aimed at helping you avoid anything slipping past your grasp.

    (Other metaphore…. Fishing nets. Casting your nets wide so as not to let anything escape unexpectedly)
  • - Many publications have their own terminology and spelling style guide.
  • Increasingly, academic are using constructed thesaurus to identify alternative spellings and word stems, and take these into account.

    Web of Science and Science Direct, for example, both use wildcards and truncation tools, but for many search terms you will get the same number of results whether you use one spelling or another, or include a wildcard or not (eg organised vs organized). It is still best practice to consider these however, as not all databases do.
  • Metaphor: This is about you controlling the context in which search results are included, and identifying and excluding those results which are ‘odd one’s out’ – they mention the search terms you have chosen, but they don’t fit in with the overall pattern or topic you are interested in sufficiently enough to warrant your time and effort.
  • Metaphor: This is about you controlling the context in which search results are included, and identifying and excluding those results which are ‘odd one’s out’ – they mention the search terms you have chosen, but they don’t fit in with the overall pattern or topic you are interested in sufficiently enough to warrant your time and effort.
  • Metaphor: This is about you controlling the context in which search results are included, and identifying and excluding those results which are ‘odd one’s out’ – they mention the search terms you have chosen, but they don’t fit in with the overall pattern or topic you are interested in sufficiently enough to warrant your time and effort.
  • Metaphor: This is about you controlling the context in which search results are included, and identifying and excluding those results which are ‘odd one’s out’ – they mention the search terms you have chosen, but they don’t fit in with the overall pattern or topic you are interested in sufficiently enough to warrant your time and effort.
  • Metaphor: This is about you controlling the context in which search results are included, and identifying and excluding those results which are ‘odd one’s out’ – they mention the search terms you have chosen, but they don’t fit in with the overall pattern or topic you are interested in sufficiently enough to warrant your time and effort.
  • Metaphor: This is about you controlling the context in which search results are included, and identifying and excluding those results which are ‘odd one’s out’ – they mention the search terms you have chosen, but they don’t fit in with the overall pattern or topic you are interested in sufficiently enough to warrant your time and effort.

  • Constructing your search

    1. 1. Constructing your search: Connextors, wildcards, truncation & proximity connectors Contact Details Academic Liaison Librarian (Researcher Support) james.bisset@durham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (191) 334 1589
    2. 2. Part 1 Effective Searching
    3. 3. - Define your information need - Broaden your search - Narrow your search - Evaluate your results - Make your results work for you Effective Searching
    4. 4. Part 2 “TurtleLover98l” https://pixabay.com/en/baseball-glove-ball-sports-catch-858367/
    5. 5. Broaden your search (1) Alternative terms a) Synonyms b) Changes in terminology (2) Alternative spelling a) Francophone and American English spellings b) Style Guides (3) Word stems
    6. 6. Broaden your search (1) Alternative terms (Boolean connectors) a) Synonyms b) Changes in terminology (2) Alternative spelling (Wildcards) a) Francophone and American English spellings b) Style Guides (3) Word stems (Truncation tools)
    7. 7. Alternative Terms Synonyms: Using “OR” inebriation OR intoxication inebriation intoxication
    8. 8. Alternative Terms Synonyms: Using “OR” … will return all results which include either the term inebriation or the term intoxication, as well as all results which mention both terms. inebriation intoxication
    9. 9. Synonyms: Using “OR” Many databases assume if don’t include the “OR” connector, you only want results where ALL of the terms entered appear. e.g. sddsfsdsdfsdfsdfsdfsdf “If you want to search for paghes that may have just one several words, include OR (capitalised) between the words. Without the OR, your results would typically show only pages that match both terms.” https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/136861?hl=en Alternative Terms
    10. 10. Alternative Terms Synonyms: Using “OR” Some databases assume if don’t include the “OR” connector, you only want results where the terms appear exactly next to each other, like a phrase. e.g. dffffffdfffffffffffffffffff
    11. 11. Alternative Spellings Think about Americanised and Francophone word spellings: • colour or color • centre or center • licence or license • organised or organized
    12. 12. Alternative Spellings Style guides: Guardian : al-Qaida Sunday Times : al-Qaeda
    13. 13. Alternative Spellings Via Flickr Creative Commons, by Pink Sherbert Photography. Original available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/70873497@N02/6935006104/ Donut Doughnut - 76,855 results in Discover - 79,894 results in Discover - Either / Or = 94,447 results in Discover
    14. 14. Alternative Spellings • Wildcards – organi?ation will find: organisation and alternative letters organization – labo?r will find: labor and missing letters labour – d?nut will find: donut and multiple missing letters doughnut
    15. 15. Word stems • Truncation tools – Word stems (truncation searching) – negligen* will find:
    16. 16. • Truncation tools – Word stems (truncation searching) – negligen* will find: “Police were accused of negligence” Word stems
    17. 17. • Truncation tools – Word stems (truncation searching) – negligen* will find: “Police were accused of negligence” “Police were accused of acting negligently” Word stems
    18. 18. • Truncation tools – Word stems (truncation searching) – negligen* will find: “Police were accused of negligence” “Police were accused of acting negligently” “Police were accused of being negligent” Word stems
    19. 19. Broaden your search • Broadening your search - Summary – Alternative terms butterfly OR lepidoptera – Alternative spellings organi?ation labo?r – Word stems negligen* Warning: Terminology and symbols vary, depending on which database or catalogue you are using
    20. 20. Part 3 “15299l” https://pixabay.com/en/darts-dart-board-bull-s-eye-game-102919/
    21. 21. Narrow your search (1) Focussing your search Combining your search terms a) Using the AND connector b) Proximity connectors Improving your search accuracy a) Phrase searching (2) Filtering your search
    22. 22. Combining your search concepts (a) Using the AND connector copyright AND photograph AND
    23. 23. Combining your search concepts (a) Using the AND connector … will return only those results which include both the term copyright and the term photograph. AND
    24. 24. Combining your search concepts (a) Using the AND connector Some databases will assume an AND between two terms even if you don’t include it… e.g. sddsfsdsdfsdfsdfsdfsdf
    25. 25. Combining your search concepts (a) Using the AND connector Some databases will assume an AND between two terms even if you don’t include it… e.g. sddsfsdsdfsdfsdfsdfsdf … but not all.
    26. 26. Combining your search concepts (a) Using the AND connector Examples include: Power Search: Requires use of the AND connector. If not included, searches for terms appearing as a phrase. Including the AND connector “combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms. Not including runs a search against an account default setting. (For Durham, this is ‘appearing within 5 words of’). http://support.ebsco.com.ezphost.dur.ac.uk/ help/index.php?help_id=35
    27. 27. Combining your search concepts (a) Using the AND connector So get into the habit of using it even when not necessary… 1. Avoid mistakes 2. Make cutting & pasting your search between databases easier.
    28. 28. (b) Proximity connectors truth AND reconciliation Will return results where both terms appear… Combining your search concepts
    29. 29. (b) Proximity connectors truth AND reconciliation Will return results where both terms appear… Anywhere. Combining your search concepts
    30. 30. (b) Proximity connectors truth AND reconciliation Will return results where both terms appear… Anywhere. They could appear several pages apart, and be unrelated. Combining your search concepts
    31. 31. (b) Proximity connectors truth AND reconciliation To account for this, some databases will allow you to use a proximity connector instead of AND… Combining your search concepts
    32. 32. (b) Proximity connectors truth AND reconciliation To account for this, some databases will allow you to use a proximity connector instead of AND… … to only return results where one keyword appears within # words of another keyword. Combining your search concepts
    33. 33. (b) Proximity connectors truth w/3 reconciliation Combining your search concepts
    34. 34. (b) Proximity connectors truth w/3 reconciliation Combining your search concepts
    35. 35. (b) Proximity connectors Combining your search concepts
    36. 36. Narrow your search Truth within 5 words reconciliation Truth w/5 reconciliationTruth /5 reconciliation Truth N5 reconciliationTruth adj5 reconciliation Warning: How this is used can vary considerably between databases. Truth Near5 reconciliation Truth Near/5 reconciliation
    37. 37. Improving your search accuracy (c) Phrase searching Truth and Reconciliation Commission
    38. 38. (c) Phrase searching “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” Improving your search accuracy
    39. 39. (c) Phrase searching “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” Improving your search accuracy
    40. 40. Filtering your search (a) Excluding terms “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” NOT “South Africa”
    41. 41. (a) Excluding terms “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” NOT “South Africa” Will return results where the phrase “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” appears, whilst excluding those results where the term “South Africa” appears… Filtering your search
    42. 42. (a) Excluding terms “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” NOT “South Africa” … but be careful with the NOT connector. It might exclude results which offer a comparison, or results where the excluded term appears only in a reference or footnote, which may still be of interest… Filtering your search
    43. 43. Narrow your search • Narrowing your search - Summary – Focussing copyright AND photograph – Proximity searching negligen* w/5 PwC – Phrase searching “duty of care” – Excluding terms property NOT intellectual Terminology and symbols vary, depending on which database or catalogue you are using
    44. 44. Part 4 “PublicDomainPictures” https://pixabay.com/en/connect-connection-cooperation-20333/46814
    45. 45. Grouping your search Shakespeare AND (tragedy OR sonnet) - will return results about Shakespeare’s tragedies and sonnets. Shakespeare AND tragedy OR sonnet - might return results about Shakespeare’s tragedies, and also anything about sonnets (including those written by others).
    46. 46. Grouping your search Shakespeare AND (tragedy OR sonnet) - will return results about Shakespeare’s tragedies and sonnets. (Shakespeare AND tragedy) OR sonnet - might return results about Shakespeare’s tragedies, and also anything about sonnets (including those written by others).
    47. 47. Grouping your search Shakespeare AND (tragedy OR sonnet) - will return results about Shakespeare’s tragedies and sonnets. Shakespeare AND tragedy OR sonnet - might return results about Shakespeare’s tragedies, and also anything about sonnets (including written by others). With brackets: 110,754 results in Discover Without: 150,795 results in Discover (679, 017 results if entered in reverse: tragedy OR sonnet AND Shakespeare)
    48. 48. Constructing your search Example Examining the impact of crime enacted by teenagers in the inner city
    49. 49. Identify your key concepts
    50. 50. Constructing your search Example Examining the impact of crime enacted by teenagers in the inner city
    51. 51. teenagers crime inner city
    52. 52. Identify your keywords
    53. 53. Identify your keywords These should describe, or focus, on a particular aspect of each concept.
    54. 54. Identify your keywords Think about alternative words, spellings and terminology.
    55. 55. teenagers youth juvenile adolescent crime inner city
    56. 56. teenagers youth juvenile adolescent crime shoplifting Anti-social behaviour theft inner city
    57. 57. teenagers youth juvenile adolescent crime shoplifting Anti-social behaviour theft inner city urban cities London
    58. 58. Construct your search Think about wildcards, truncation and phrase searching.
    59. 59. teen* youth juvenile adolescen* crim* shoplift* “Anti-social behavio?r” theft “inner city” urban cities London
    60. 60. Construct your search Link your terms with appropriate connectors.
    61. 61. Example (teen* OR youth OR juvenile OR adolescen*) AND (crim* OR shoplift* OR “anti-social behavio?r” OR theft) AND (“inner city” OR urban OR cities OR London)
    62. 62. Example (teen* OR youth OR juvenile OR adolescen*) AND (crim* OR shoplift* OR “anti-social behavio?r” OR theft) AND (“inner city” OR urban OR cities OR London)
    63. 63. Example (teen* OR youth OR juvenile OR adolescen*) AND (crim* OR shoplift* OR “anti-social behavio?r” OR theft) AND (“inner city” OR urban OR cities OR London)
    64. 64. Example (teen* OR youth OR juvenile OR adolescen*) AND (crim* OR shoplift* OR “anti-social behavio?r” OR theft) AND (“inner city” OR urban OR cities OR London)
    65. 65. (teen* OR youth OR juvenile OR adolescen*) (“inner city”OR urban OR cities OR London) (crim* OR shoplift* OR “anti-social behavio?r” OR theft) Only this subset of results returned, as the most relevant based on search entered.
    66. 66. Evaluate your search Are you getting the results you expected?
    67. 67. Evaluate your search Can the results returned inform your search strategy and identify improvements?
    68. 68. Evaluate your search New keywords? Key authors? Focus I on a specific topic or aspect of the topic?
    69. 69. Researcher Development Framework
    70. 70. Researcher Development Framework

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