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EGR100 (fall 2019): Engineering for Everyone: Search Strategies & Tips

Fall 2019, S. Moore

The Deep Web

A vast majority of the web (90%!) cannot be accessed via search engines like Google. From Mashable.

Search Tips

Whether you are searching for books in the Five College Library Catalog, or searching for scholarly articles in a library database, it pays to be organized as you start your search. Break down searching into a three step process.

STEP 1
Write down as much information about your topic as possible. (You can use encyclopedias and other reference books to help gather background information). Answer the following questions:

  • What is your topic?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What do you know? What don't you know?

Then, try to summarize what you are looking for in one or two sentences.

EXAMPLE: I would like to learn about the drug Artemisinin, its precursor (Artemisinic acid), its history, and, in particular, its role and effectiveness in fighting malaria.

STEP 2
Using the information in Step 1, list the main concepts of your topic.

EXAMPLE: Artemisinin, Artemisinic acid, malaria, role, effectiveness

STEP 3
Now create a list of synonyms of your key concepts. Think broadly, think narrowly! This step is helping you expand your search by expressing your query in a variety of ways. If you get too many results, then you can work on focussing your search.

Artemisinin
Artemisinic- acid 

wormwood-plant  Artemisia-annua 
Qinghao-plant 
Qinghaosu

Tu YouYou
Jay-Keasling      

malaria
Plasmodium                                       
 

role or use
effectiveness
combination drugs
history
manufacture
supply or shortage



*=Wildcard; can be used to search for variations

Ex.  manufactur*

 

You will use the word lists you developed in Step 3 to create search strategies. Use "OR" between synonyms and "AND" between concepts. For instance:

(artemisinin OR artemisinic acid) AND (malaria OR plasmodium) 

Another Tip

Mind Mapping Worksheet

Need Help?

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Rocco Piccinino

Contact:
Young Library
(413) 585-2951
rpiccini@smith.edu


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