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Research Skills & Strategies

Argosy University Webinar Series
by

Elizabeth Windsor

on 29 November 2012

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Transcript of Research Skills & Strategies

Elizabeth Windsor
Subject Specialist Librarian
Argosy University, Seattle
ewindsor@argosy.edu Research Skills & Strategies This tutorial will review basic search tips and tricks. It will also provide a step-by-step guide on effectively researching any topic.

Don't hesitate to contact your local librarian or learner support specialist if you have any questions! Need help with research? Spending more time formulating a good search strategy will save you time weeding through results you don’t want. Identify Key Terms! Keep in mind that there are often multiple ways to define a topic. Try brainstorming keywords that relate to the key concepts of your research question. Identifying Key Terms: Example Your research topic: How does pollution affect the environment? First key term: Second key term: POLLUTION ENVIRONMENT When choosing key terms:
There are multiple ways to define a topic. If you don't find what you're looking for using the first key terms you come up with, use synonyms! Key terms: Air pollution Oil pollution Pollution control Water pollution Ocean pollution Pollution Environment Ecosystem Habitat Sustainability Ecology Environmental Policy Not sure which search terms to use? Try using the thesaurus.

The thesaurus shows relationships between terms such as synonymous or related terms, and hierarchical arrangements such as broader or narrower terms. 
Using terms found in the thesaurus will help make your searching more precise. Most databases offer a thesaurus option. Please see below for the ProQuest option: Keywords can also be found in the articles you find: Identify and use the appropriate library databases. Locate Literature Check the Digital Dissertations and Theses database (includes over 1 million full-text dissertations) Dissertations Books Argosy Library Catalog
www.worldcat.org Multidisciplinary Databases Subject Specific Databases PsycINFO/PsycARTICLES
MEDLINE
ERIC
Business Source Elite EBSCO Academic Search Elite
ProQuest Central Advanced Search Why?
More search options = more control = more relevant results

Most databases provide an advanced search option! Narrow your results on the right hand side of the screen (in ProQuest) Too many results? Why? It’s one of the most effective and efficient ways to get more relevant results. Try narrowing by subject. It’s a really powerful tool! Don’t restrict your search to full text articles only; there may be full-text articles in other databases, or good articles that can only be obtained through interlibrary loan. Don’t forget that conference papers and government reports may also be included (check with your professor first). Things to Consider After searching individual databases, check "Quick Search." This can help you confirm comprehensive searching Check Google Scholar. This also helps you confirm comprehensive searching. Argosy University article holdings are now integrated with Google Scholar. Look at the bibliographies of relevant, key articles.
These often lead to other relevant items, and often be a good guideline about how much you have read on your topic.

Look at review articles.
These often provide detailed coverage of the literature of a topic. You can also... Peer-Reviewed Articles IMPORTANT! The vast majority of your research should be done using the Online Library. The Online Library holdings total nearly 25,000 online journals, 450 million articles, 50,000 + e-books, 1.7 million dissertations, and thousands of videos all of which are available on- or off-campus, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your research needs. This information is proprietary and requires you to login via your Campus Common. An article which has been reviewed and/or judged by at least two individuals in the same or similar scholarly field. Peer-reviewed articles are generally found in academic publications, such as scholarly journals. While peer-reviewed articles are scholarly articles, not all scholarly articles are peer-reviewed. Please note the difference. However, it is important to remember is that peer-reviewed and scholarly articles are both valid academic resources. Ask your professor if he or she prefers that you limit your research to peer-reviewed articles only. All the articles you use MUST be peer-reviewed unless your professor indicates otherwise. Online Library databases often contain “peer-reviewed” search options: One Last Tip for Article Evaluation Note the quality of the journal
Look at the publisher (university press? Professional society?)
Check the journal’s impact factor at Science Gateway -listings of high impact journals, institutions, and authors by field
Review the journal's webpage.
Harvard Business Review
Education and Urban Society Review the output of the author
Author's credentials--institutional affiliation (where he or she works), educational background, past writings, or experience Noting the quality of the journal and the output of the author can also be helpful when evaluating internet resources. Internet Resources .edu: An educational institution’s website. However, each institution is responsible for monitoring its own website information. Institutions generally require login for proprietary resources (such as the Online Library).

.gov: A governmental website. Great for statistics. Validated by the government.

.org: An organization’s website (often for non-profits). Use with caution. The American Psychological Association’s website (www.apa.org) is a .org. Wikipedia is also a .org.

.com: A commercial website. Use with caution. Does the website include sources? Is it clear who is responsible for the website and who you can contact about the website? If a website ends in… The Online Library is NOT an internet resource; it is a propriety academic resource. While internet resources can be helpful, they should generally be one of the last places you look when researching. For best results,
use the Books Internet Resources Peer-Reviewed Articles General Reference Databases (cc) image by nuonsolarteam on Flickr Dissertations Videos 1 2 3 4 5 6 Search Tips To help you learn techniques to save time and get better, more relevant results when searching in the online library! Boolean Operators Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to determine relationships between search terms. Boolean operators may vary slightly between databases. AND is used to combine terms and narrow a search. Example: to search for children and psychopharmacology, type AND (in caps) between the terms you would like to be associated in a search: OR is used to broaden a search, as it allows for similar terms or synonyms to be used. Example: to search children OR teenagers in relation to psychopharmacology, see below: NOT is used to exclude terms, thus narrowing your search. Example: If you would like to search for teenagers and psychopharmacology, but NOT children and psychopharmacology, enter the search terms and operators as shown below: Children OR teenagers
AND psychopharmacology Psychopharmacology AND teenagers NOT children REMEMBER Enclose search terms in quotation marks to search the exact phrase
Example: "clinical psychology" • Check for spelling errors in your search! Check for variant spellings (e.g. color and colour) and use both if you do not use wildcards! Use wildcards and truncation to capture variants.
Many databases use the asterisk (*) and question mark (?). Some may also use the exclamation point (!) and others use adjacency operators, which determine how close together you want two words in your search to be
Example: The asterisk stands for any number of letters, including none. Dog* will find dogma, dogmatic, dogmatron, doggone, dogs, dog, etc. If you’re not getting enough results, remove one or more limits. It’s better to begin with a broader search and narrow it down, than to start with too narrow of a search and end up with too few results! Feel Like You've Hit a Brick Wall? Contact your local Librarian! We're here to help. Use database-supplied limiters!
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