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PSYC 530

From Topic to Search

A. "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.

B. "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.

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.

Basic Searching Strategies

Topic: Climate change

Question: Are humans responsible for climate change?

a. Determine key words

1) Look at your main question

2) Other clues (terms found in sources)

b. Narrowing your search

1) Boolean search terms

2) Search shortcuts

3) Quotation marks, truncation and wildcards

          Boolean 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 (Turquoise) containClimate Change NOT "Natural Cause"

Advanced Search Techniques

                   Advanced Search Techniques

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