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Steps for Effective Database Searching
||Frame your topic as a research question
||Identify key terms within your research question.
||Construct a search statement that consists of your key terms and appropriate Boolean operators. You may also need to incorporate parentheses as well.
||Run your search.
||Assess your results.
||If the results aren't useful, go to Step 7. Otherwise, you're done.
||Construct a search statement using variations of your key terms.
||Run your revised search
||Assess results of revised search.
||If results of revised search are not useful, repeat Steps 7-9 until you get an acceptable set of results. Otherwise, you're done.
Transforming a topic into a research question
- Transforming a topic into a research question forces you to focus your research and overall saves you time and effort
- Even if your topic is one concept, you should develop a research question that is as clear, concise, and complete as possible.
||How does medical marijuana help people with chronic pain?
||In what ways can veganism help the environment?
What are key terms?
- Significant words or phrases in a question or sentence
- Include names, places, events, and concepts
- Don't usually include functional words like articles, prepositions, conjunctions, etc
What are Boolean operators?
•Use for searches involving more than one key term
- AND - narrows the scope of a search
- OR - broadens the scope of a search
- NOT - narrows the scope of a search by excluding results that include specified terms
More about parentheses
- Whatever is in parentheses is processed first (remember order of operations from your math classes?)
- maker culture OR hacker culture AND libraries – hacker culture AND libraries acted on first
- (maker culture OR hacker culture) AND libraries – maker culture OR hacker culture acted on first