At university you are expected to find and use scholarly information:
However, to find scholarly information you need to search in a particular way to get good results.
When you receive your assessment details, the first thing to do is to read it carefully and fully understand the requirements of the task. You need to plan your search before you use the library system. The planning involves the following 6 steps.
Breaking down task topic into key concepts.
Researchers may use different terms to refer to these concepts. So it's important to think of what other terms could be used.
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Boolean Operators are words that connect search terms (keywords) to perform a search that a database can understand. ‘AND’ and ‘OR’ are commonly used Boolean Operators.
AND finds results that use both keywords. Use it to connect key concepts.
OR finds results that use either of the keywords. Use it to connect synonyms/alternative words.
Watch this short video and understand more about Boolean Operators.
Phrase searching and truncation can be also helpful!
Use “ “ to do phrase searching. It narrows the search to retrieve results in which the exact phrase appears, e.g. “social media”.
Use * at the end of a root word to search for variable endings of a root word, e.g. environment* can find environment, environmental, and environmentalism.
You now have the key concepts, synonyms, and connectors. You can build effective searches according to the previous steps.
Note: Searching is exploring. You need to modify your searches as well try different searches until you get relevant results.
You will need to find different types of information during your studies. These may include:
The type of information you are looking for will determine where you search, and how you search.
Using the steps above will help you find most of these information types, but there are also other places to look.
Explore this study guide or ask a librarian to discover more.
Not all the information you get from a search will be useful. A successful search will show results relevant to your topic. If your results are not relevant, go back and try different keywords in your search.
Find relevant results by checking the:
Even if your information is relevant, it might not be good quality. Check if it passes the C.R.A.P. Test before you use it.