Some topics are easier to write a 5-6 page paper about than others. How do you take a big topic and get down to a narrow research question or thesis statement? Once you have decided on a topic, how do you find resources? Below you will find helpful tricks to begin searching on the topic.
Two types of searches will help locate books: the 'SUBJECT' and 'KEYWORD' searches.
The Subject Search
Use this search when looking for books about a subject, such as genetically modified foods (GMO's). If you are looking for information on an author, you will enter the author's name (last name, first name).
The Keyword Search
Use this search when looking for resources that you do not know the subject heading for. Keyword searching will search the entire text.
Example: If you are searching for social media - the catalog will search for the words social and media anywhere in the document. To get the results you need, put the two words in quotation marks - 'social media.'
You will need to add quotation marks at the beginning and end of phrase. You may use quotation marks for article & book titles too, when searching.
Example: “Figure of Speech”
To begin searching:
Start big, get smaller.
As you explore, you'll see some ideas stand out more than others.
What are some other words or terminology to describe it?
Use Boolean Operators to broaden or narrow your search.
Truncation is known as a 'Wildcard' search. By adding an asterisk (*) to find resources containing all spelled variations of a word or other endings to the root of a word. Be careful because some truncation will give you everything, meaning more than you bargained for.
Good Example: adolescen* = results will include adolescent, adolescents, or adolescence
Bad Example: Mar* = market, marketable, marguerite, marathon, marionette, maraschino, etc.
Use Limiters to Refine Results.
Sometimes a similar topic has multiple subjects (social media, online social network).
You can also browse subjects to brainstorm searches and alternative terms.