Instructions for today's activity:
You'll be put into groups of 2 or 3. Pick a topic that you are interested in. It can be something in your major, something you're interested outside of your coursework, something silly...it doesn't matter! This is practice.
Look through the questions on page 2 of the worksheet and talk through them, out loud, with the other members of your group. Yes, out loud! "Thinking out loud" is a great way to improve your metacognition skills.
After you've talked through the first 3 questions, think of 2 or 3 keywords or phrases related to your topic, then do some quick searches in some of the databases we looked at. What did you learn that you didn't already know? Talk about it with your group.
When we're done, I'll ask one person from each group to share one thing they learned from this exercise.
Think about it: search engines crawl thousands, maybe even millions and billions, of pages or records trying to match your search term with results. You're going to be absolutely overwhelmed with results if you only enter a single search term. You're also going to find a lot of completely irrelevant stuff.
So how can you improve your chances?
Come up with multiple search terms and combine them using the options described here.
Combining search terms with AND will:
Search for politics = 296 million results
Search for "college student" AND politics = 43 million results more focused on your topic
Search for "college student" AND politics AND "2008 election" = 543,000 more relevant results
Combining search terms with OR will:
Search for movie = 199,781 results
Search for film OR movie = 642,906 results that mention either film or movie, or both
Search for "middle school" = 21,401 results that mention "middle school"
Search for "junior high" = 7,261 results
Search for "middle school" OR "junior high" = 28,177 results that mention either "middle school" or "junior high", or both
Search for "Hunger Games" NOT movie = 487 results
Search for cloning = 42,736 results
Search for cloning NOT human = 30,325 results
Search engines attempt to match your terms to the items it searches (titles, authors, abstracts, description fields, full text, etc).
However, search engines do NOT understand phrases, sentences, or questions. So when it does this matching, it searches for each term indivdiually. Some searches attempt to find terms in proximity to each other, but this varies depending on where you search.
If your search terms are more than single worlds, employ quotation marks to show the search engine that you want the terms to be found together. The search will look for exactly what you place in the quotation marks, so be sure there are no mistakes.
Search for Adam Smith = 38,700,000 results
Search for "Adam Smith" = 2,730,000 results
Search for theory of relativity = 3,430,000 results
Search for "theory of relativity" = 856,000 results
Broad/General Academic Searches
Find books, articles, media, and more at Butler and beyond
Do you know what sort of subject area that your research falls under? Try finding a database through the Databases Grouped by Subject page. Pick a subject and you'll be taken to a page where the liaision librarian for that subject has compiled a list of appropriate databases for you to use.
Selecting and Using Keywords (CC) from PALNI on Vimeo.
Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937