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Online Learning Guide

Resources for the Research Process

A.Topic Identification & Selection (by Arizona State University). This video will walk you through the process of selecting a topic.

B. "Developing a Research or Guiding Question" (by Arizona State University): This video will help you understand the difference between a topic and a research question. It will also help you develop good research questions.

C. "Generating and Using Keywords" (by Arizona State University): This video explains how to determine keywords/concepts. It also explains the importance of finding synonyms or related concepts.

D. Web vs Library Research Databases (by Arizona State University): This video discusses the differences between researching library databases vs. Google Scholar vs. Google

Research Question: How does playing video games affect teenage girls?

 

Concept 1

AND

Concept 2

AND

Concept 3

Extract the major concepts from your research question.

teenage

 

girls

 

“video games”

List alternatives for each concept:

  • These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept
  • Use single words or short phrases.
  • Find additional terms in abstracts and summaries of articles.

 

Search Terms

Search Terms

Search Terms

adolescent

female

“online games”

OR

OR

OR

teens

“teenage girls”

Nintendo

OR

OR

OR

 

 

 

OR

OR

OR

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. Watch "Boolean Logic" (by Douglas College Library"): This video explains how to combine search terms to narrow or broaden your search of library databases.

Boolean (Operators) Search Terms

 

 

Explanation

Example

AND

Results (in blue) contain both terms Climate Change AND Cause 

OR

Results (all of both circles) contain either Climate Change OR Cause

NOT

Results (in Turquoise) contain Climate Change NOT "Natural Cause"

***Note: Some web browsers have their own search terms.

Search Shortcuts

 

Explanation

Example

PHRASE SEARCH

(Using Quotation Marks)

Looks for complete phrase exactly as it is typed

“human cause for climate change"

SITE:

Focuses on specific domain types

.com (commercia); .net (network); .org (organization); .gov (government); .edu (education)

site: .edu. “human cause* for climate change”

RELATED:

Finds similar sites

related: http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2013/may/most-scientists-agree-humans-causing-global-climate-change.html

LINK:

Finds sites that are linked to this site or have used this site as a reference

link: http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2013/may/most-scientists-agree-humans-causing-global-climate-change.html

FILETYPE:

Focuses on specific domain types

.com (commercia); .net (network); .org (organization); .gov (government); .edu (education)

filetype: .pdf “human cause* for climate change”

(Palmer, 2015, pp. 28-29)    

Palmer, E. (2015). Researching In A Digital World. Danvers, MA: ASCD.
© 2015 by ASCD. Reproduced with permission

Truncation and Wildcards

 

Symbol

Explanation

Example

Truncation

*

(Some databases might use: !, ?, or #)

Helps to expand your search to include different word endings or other possible combinations

Boy*= boys, boyfriend, boycott, etc.

C*t= cat, caught, consent, etc.

Wildcard

! or ?

Substitutes for a letter in a word.

M!n= man, men

Colo!r= color, colour