Know Your Assignment Requirements
Research Assignment and Instructor Expectations
Completed by due date (the Research Project Calculator can help you plan to finish on time)
Length of finished product
Sources selected and used
Organization and flow of ideas
- Select/define/refine/focus your idea
- 5 Ws (who, what, why, when, where) and how
- Determine if you will be able to cover all the important points of your topic in the space you have to fill
Boolean operators are words (or, and, not) used to connect search terms to expand (or) or narrow (and, not) a search within a database to locate relevant information. Boolean operators are also called logical operators or connectors.
It is helpful to diagram the effects of these operators:
women or females
|Or retrieves records that contain any of the search terms. It expands the search. Therefore, use "or" in between terms that have the same meaning (synonyms) or equal value to the search.|
women and media
|And retrieves records that contain all of the search terms. It narrows or limits the search. Therefore, use "and" in between terms that are required to make the search specific.|
image not weight
|Not eliminates records that contain a search term. It narrows or limits the search. Therefore, use "not" in front of a term to ensure that the search will not include that term. Warning: Some databases use "and not" instead of "not." Check the database help screen.|
Wildcards & Truncation in the Library Catalog
Use the single asterisk * truncation symbol to search variations of a word, up to five characters, for example: critic* will also retrieve critics, critical, criticism. However, to truncate a word that could have more than five characters after the root word, use two asterisks **, for example: bank** will also retrieve banks, banking, banker, bankrupt, and also bankruptcy.
- New topics may not yet be included in the database's controlled vocabulary.
- Using the appropriate subject heading for a topic will retrieve all items in the database indexed under that topic.
- If you do not know the appropriate subject heading for your topic, conduct a keyword search first and look at the subject heading(s) of a relevant item.
Scholarly Journals (Peer-reviewed/Referreed)
- Authors are authorities in their fields.
- Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies.
- Individual issues have little or no advertising.
- Articles must go through a peer-review or refereed process.
- Articles are usually reports on scholarly research.
- Illustrations usually take the form of charts and graphs.
- Articles use jargon of the discipline.