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
Developing a Search Strategy
- Once you have chosen a topic, write it down in the form of a question or brief statement:
What was the influence of the Ottoman Empire on the art & architecture in Venice?
- Underline the key words and phrases that are most specific to your topic.
What is the relationship between Ottoman and Venice?
- Write down each key word or phrase, and underneath it, list synonyms or related terms.
Use a dictionary or thesaurus to find additional keywords. For example:
|Turkish Turk||Northern Italy||painting architecture sculpture|
- Think about the singular, plural, and other endings of words and write down the root of the word.
Art Architecture arts artists church churches basilica
- Write down your key words and phrases along with their synonyms in the form of a Boolean search statement. Use the root word, and truncate it with an asterisk (*). Note: Different databases use different truncation or wildcard symbols. Check the database's help page. For example:
(Art or painting or sculpture) and (turk* or ottoman) and (church* basilica)
- Use keyword when your term may be very new, very distinctive, or jargon, e.g. "instant messaging", "XML".
- Use a variety of keywords. There may be additional items on your topic that use different terms.
- Be aware that you may retrieve items not related to your topic (called false drops)
- When you cannot remember the exact title of an item, do a keyword search using the title words you remember.
Narrow or Broaden Your Search
Use AND between terms to narrow your search
example: television and violence and children
Use OR and/or truncate (*, ?) words to broaden your search
example: children or youth or adolescents
example: child* (will find child, children, etc.) Note: check online help for the correct truncation symbol
Boolean Operators -- Art
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
A symbol * used at the end of a word to retrieve variant endings of that word. It allows you to search the "root" form of a word with all its different endings.
Truncation will broaden or increases search results. Truncation = OR
Teen* retrieves teen, teens, teenager, teenagers ....
The symbol ? can be used as one character or no character
Example: wom?n will retrieve woman and women
Scholarly Journals (Peer-Reviewed/Referred)
- 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