Finding the right words


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Presentation describing the pros and cons of key word and subject searching, particularly in the context of searching the library catalog at U of R.

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Finding the right words

  1. 1. Searching for the right words ENGL 100U: The Research Process Spring 2008 W. Sellors
  2. 6. Learn the lingo <ul><li>READ widely about your topic – preferably in the following order: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CQ Researcher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject-specific encyclopedias, books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Magazine, newspaper, and journal articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional, government, and academic web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>While you read, make a list of the words used to talk about your topic </li></ul>
  3. 7. Putting your word list to work…
  4. 8. Key word searching <ul><li>Key word searches find sources in which your search word(s) appears somewhere </li></ul>
  5. 10. <ul><li>Streams </li></ul><ul><li>Brooks </li></ul><ul><li>Creeks </li></ul><ul><li>Rivers </li></ul><ul><li>Etcetera… </li></ul>
  6. 18. Subject headings <ul><li>Subject headings bring resources ABOUT the same subject together under a master heading </li></ul><ul><li>Unlike key words, subject headings ensure that the source is ABOUT the topic </li></ul><ul><li>In most library catalogs and databases, these headings are selected by people </li></ul>
  7. 22. Remember, You Need a BOOK
  8. 24. Advanced Search
  9. 25. AND vs. OR <ul><li>Use OR to join similar terms so that your search returns results with ANY of those words </li></ul><ul><li>Use AND to combine terms that describe different aspects of your topic so that your search returns results with ALL of those words </li></ul><ul><li>OR increases the number of search results </li></ul><ul><li>AND decreases the number of search results </li></ul>
  10. 27. Search Tips <ul><li>Get out your word list </li></ul><ul><li>Skip the search box on the library home page </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, click on “UR Library Catalog” </li></ul><ul><li>Start with a “Subject Heading Keyword” search, putting phrases in “” </li></ul>
  11. 28. Search Tips <ul><li>Too many results? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you searched for one word (pollution) or two words without “” (water pollution), try using “” (“water pollution”) or + (+rivers +pollution) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Click on the Advanced Search tab so that you can combine subject heading keyword and key word anywhere searching </li></ul></ul>
  12. 29. Search Tips <ul><li>Too few results? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shorten your search phrase – one or two words usually work best in a relatively small database like the UR catalog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Switch to a Keyword ALL search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at the detailed records of a few relevant results and click on the subject headings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try other words from your list </li></ul></ul>
  13. 30. In those notes you’re taking… <ul><li>Highlight the subject headings </li></ul><ul><li>Draw a diagram of the words to show which ones are narrower terms for others </li></ul><ul><li>Re-search , comparing the results you get using various words and phrases until you find the most effective combinations </li></ul>
  14. 32. Image Sources <ul><li>Armstrong, Paul. “Headache” and “Right Back At Cha.” 7 Feb. 2007. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Durron, Questa. “Padme and the Crystal Ball.” 7 Feb. 2007. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Group of fireflies. 11 Oct. 2006. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Glowing firefly. 11 Oct. 2006. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Ploughman, Lars. “A Dark Age for Yellow Pages.” 7 Feb. 2007. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Sandisk Cruzer flash drive. 11 Oct. 2006. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Stream. 11 Oct. 2006. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Williams, Malik. “Frustration” and “Hard Work. 7 Feb. 2007. <>. </li></ul>