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PHIL 253 Problems in Democracy (Parris) -02

Research tips

Research Tips

■Start research by brainstorming keywords for your topic and write them down.
–Determine what are your key terms
–Think about synonyms and related terms
–Think about broader terms and narrower terms
■Strategize your research
–Think about what kinds of information will be helpful
–Think about who would have information about your topic
■Keep track of where you have looked
–Consider using a research log
■Keep track of what you find
–Consider using a reference manager like RefWorks or Zotero

Searching Tips

We use boolean operators locate articles with our search terms.

The two basic boolean operators are: AND and OR

Use them to either narrow or broaden your results.

AND narrows the results: ALL search terms connected with AND must be present in the article records returned. 

OR Broadens the results: ANY search terms connected with OR can be present in the article records returned. 

Broaden a search by using the truncation. The truncation symbol is an asterisk (*) put it at the end of the root of the word.  Example, immigra* retrieves immigration, immigrant, immigrants, immigrate, immigrates. 

If your search term has more than one word, and those word must stay in that order to make sense, use quotation marks around your search term for exact phrase searching. Example: ”Global warming"

Most databases offer facets to limit your results further (typically on the left)

■To a specific date range
■to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals
■by source type (magazines, newspapers, academic journals)
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