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Physical Geography: Landforms & Lithosphere

Guide for research assignment for GEOG 101: Physical Geography (Christine Hansell)

Search Strategies

Focus your topic. Not too broad, not too specific.


Landforms and Lithosphere

How has tectonic activity affected the landforms in and around the (your city)?

Divide the topic into concepts:

(your city)


Plate Tectonics

Google Search Tips

To do a Google search with the same search words already entered in your OneSearch, click “Search” in the Google box on the “Extend Your Search” column on the right side of the results page


Google Search Tips!

To search for multiple concepts: 
- use ORs between words for the same concept,
- use quotes (" ") around phrases.
-  Google does not use the *

To limit to a specific domain, use site: in front of the domain name (no spaces)   will limit a search to just .edu sites OR   
will limit a search to either .edu or .gov sites  
will exclude .com

Example of Google search limiting to specific domain: Chicago, IL AND "tectonic activity"  Example of result from this search: 

overview of the seismic threat in the central united states
Missouri University of
Science and Technology

historic seismicity recorded in South Central Illinois is believed to be the reactivation of old

faults or background .... surface likely produced by the tectonic activity is the
Reelfoot .....
minor damage as far away as Chicago and St Louis.

Database Searching


OneSearch feature located on the Library's home page will save you time as it searches across most of our article databases and book catalog to find sources matching your search terms with one click.  Sources include a wide range of articles from academic journals, popular magazines, newspapers and reference sources, e-books & other documents, plus print books available in the library. 

Preparation Needed BEFORE you search:  Use the key terms discussed above to write out your search string of key concepts.

Search tips to help you narrow or broaden your search results: 

  • Type an OR between synonymous words for the same concept.
  • Use AND between concepts to narrow and focus your research 
  • Use an * to search for multiple words from the same root, e.g. legislat* will find articles with the words: legislate, legislation, legislator or legislated
  • Use quote marks (“ ”) around search phrases (multiple words that should be searched together), e.g. “racial discrimination”

Here are some examples: 

(your city) AND "land forms" AND "plate tectonics"  

(your city) AND "tectonic activity"  AND "land forms"


You can also click on the "Advanced Search" feature and it will assist you in focusing your search. In each search box, type the search word(s) for a separate concept.   


Search box 1: (your city)

Search box 2: "plate tectonics"

Search box 3: "land forms"

Click on the link below to begin your search.

OneSearch (To log into our databases off-campus you'll need to use your email or Canvas login.)


Below  is an example of the type of article you will find when using these terms in a "Super Search" with the city of San Francisco


Search box 1: San Francisco

Search box 2: landforms

Search box 3: "plate tectonics"