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ENG118 11: Language and Gender (M. McCarvel): Search Tips

Fall 2018: M. McCarvel

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Wikipedia - Beware

 

Wikipedia

BEWARE:  Can provide useful background information, but be a critical user of this information.  Evaluate and verify.

Contentious Science Topics on Wikipedia Subject to Editing Mishchief
by Meghan Rose, Science News [188;7, Oct. 3, 2015, p. 5.]

 

Search Tips

Searching By Keywords:

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. 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 research being done on the topic of animals and language.

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

EXAMPLE:  animals, language 

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 focusing your search.

 

 

animal*

OR

chimpanzee*

OR

dog*

OR

bird*

*=wildcard; will find variations in a word. 

 

language

OR

communication

OR

talking

OR

speaking

 

Add other term(s) to further narrow search
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

(animal* OR chimpanzee* OR bird*) AND (language OR communicat*)  

 Watch video (3 minutes):  Crafting a Savvy Search Strategy (UCLA Library)

Mind Mapping Worksheet

Need Help?

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Rocco Piccinino

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


Or use Ask a Librarian! to access help during Reference Desk hours.

 

The Deep Web

A vast majority of the web (90%!) cannot be accessed via search engines like Google. (2.26 minutes) From Mashable.