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Last Updated: Mar 2, 2017 URL: http://library.staugustine.edu/home Print Guide

HELP & TUTORIALS Print Page
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Library Instruction

INTRODUCTION

When conducting research for a project or paper, it is important to develop a search strategy that incorporates searching techniques. The following forms and videos will help you construct a search strategy and will introduce you to important searching techniques that will help you with your research.

TUTORIALS

Library Instruction Overview. View the tutorial below to learn how to get started searching for books, e-books, and journal articles using simple keywords.                 

Library Instruction

PowerPoint prepared by St. Augustine College Library

Developing a search strategy will help you focus your research and retrieve the best information for your topic.  View the tutorial below to learn how to develop a search strategy using searching techniques.

Searching Techniques

Video prepared by National-Louis University Library

Understanding concepts of your research question, and how they relate to each other.  The Concept Form will assist you with thinking about three concept areas for your search, as well as synomyns and alternative words for searching.

Concept Form

Boolean Operator Form explains the three connectors (and, or, not) and their uses.

Boolean Operators Form

See also the videos in the next column.

 

Library Quick Guide

 

How To Search For Information

CHOOSE DATABASES TO SEARCH

   Click on ARTICLES & DATABASES tab to search for journal articles in databases (indexes) by subject, author, and title.

   Click on BOOKS & E-BOOKS tab to search for books and e-books by author, title, or subject.


DEVELOP A SEARCH STRATEGY 

1. Choose a topic.

2. Turn your topic into a research question. To help formulate your research question, ask yourself:

·     What do you already know about the topic?

·     What you do you want to know about the topic?

3. Choose keywords from your research question. Keywords are usually the main ideas or concepts in your research question.

4. Find synonyms for your keywords. Synonyms give you more options for search terms.

5.  Start searching!  Use your keywords and synonyms as search terms in journal databases and the book catalog.


USE BOOLEAN OPERATORS FOR MORE PRECISE SEARCH

OR = increase your results. Combine synonyms or similar terms to increase the number of results.

Example:  groups OR organizations OR associations RETRIEVES articles that contain any of those 3 words

AND = narrow your results. Combine different concepts to narrow your search. 

Example:  students AND kindergarten RETRIEVES articles that contain both of those words.

NOT = narrow your results. Combine different concepts to reduce your search by excluding some words. 

Example:  students NOT kindergarten RETRIEVES articles about all students except kindergarten students.

Watch this video about using Boolean operators and search techniques

Video prepared by Virginia Commonwealth University Library

USE SUBJECT HEADINGS FOR MORE PRECISE SEARCH

Most journal article databases use controlled vocabulary to make searching for journal articles more specific.  

Knowing the best subject heading will improve your specific search.  Use a database's THESAURUS (controlled vocabulary) to choose the best words for your SUBJECT search.

Watch this video about using subject headings or descriptors

Video prepared by Virginia Commonwealth University Library

USE SPECIAL SYMBOLS

QUOTATION MARKS

Search for two or more words held together (phrase searching)

Example:  "United States" or "Culinary Arts"  RETRIEVES articles containing those exact phrases 

WILDCARDS OR TRUNCATION SYMBOLS

Search for words with any letter or letters in place of the symbol

Example:  "wom*n"  RETRIEVES articles with WOMEN or WOMAN or WOMIN or WOMUN or WOMYN

Example:  "theat?"   RETRIEVES articles with words THEATRE  or THEATER or THEATRICAL 

Example:  "business?"  RETRIEVES articles with BUSINESS or BUSINESSES or BUSINESSMAN (any letter after the final "s")

Example:  "business ?"  RETRIEVES articles about business with any word following it, such as "business climate" or "business plan"

NOTE:  Database producers may use different symbols for these functions.  Be sure read the HELP section of each database.


 

Need Help?

INFORMATION COMMONS LIBRARY
Elizabeth Murphy, Director

LIBRARY HELP DESK
773-878-7599 library@staugustine.edu

IT HELP DESK
773-878-3855 helpdesk@staugustine.edu

 

Use Information Ethically & Cite Sources

Information gathered from any source  - books, journals, films, web sites, even personal conversations and unpublished manuscripts - cannot be reused without citing the source of your information.  

"To be fair and ethical, you must acknowledge your debt to the writers of these sources.  Failure to do so is a form of ACADEMIC DISHONESTY know as plagiarism."  Hacker and Sommers, 502.

Use footnotes or endnotes to give credit to a direct quotation.

Include a bibliography or list of works cited.   

Follow guidelines from your instructor about citing your sources correctly.  Choose one of the following standard citation formats:

APA - American Psychological Association  (used in social sciences and some sciences)

CMS - Chicago Manual of Style (also called University of Chicago/Turabian)  (used in other disciplines including humanities)  

MLA - Modern Language Association   (used in English and humanities


 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hacker, Diane and Nancy Somers.  A Writer's Reference, 7th ed.  Boston: Bedford St. Martin's, 2011.   Available for purchase at the St. Augustine College Bookstore.

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