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StudentCam Research Project: Research Strategy

LibGuide Created for Middle College Government class at Skyline College

Planning Your Search Strategy

 

State Your Topic idea as... a statement or question. Make sure it is not too broad or not too narrow.

Example: Topic:  Gun Control
Research Question:  How do we decide who is allowed to have access to guns?

Break your topic down into its main concepts you will searching:

Guns          access          regulate           Amendment II 

Make a list of synonyms and related terms for each concept. These are the key words you will later type in the OneSearch search box. 

 

Example:

guns                         access                         regulate                 Amendment II
firearms                   obtain                            governance                       
assault weapons     "take possesion of"        standardize                                             

                                                                                                                         

Example - Homelessness

State Your Topic idea as... a statement or question. Make sure it is not too broad or not too narrow.

Example: Topic:  Homelessness and Poverty
Research Question:   Does poverty in America come to mean an inevitable life of homelessness and how can we stop this trend?

Break your topic down into its main concepts you will searching:

Homelessness          poverty          current trends      correlation

Make a list of synonyms and related terms for each concept. These are the key words you will later type in the OneSearch search box. 

 

Example:

Homelessness                        Poverty                     Current trends           Correlation        
homeless persons                   poor people               trend analysis           factor analysis            
homeless                                public welfare            trend data                 association
homeless people                                                                                        relationship
homeless shelters
                                                                                

Searching OneSearch

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

Search most of Skyline Library's article databases and book catalog to find 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.

Click on the link above to open a new database window

  • To search for more than one "concept", click on Advanced Search below the Search box.
  • In each search box, type the search word(s) or phrase(s) for a separate concept.
  • Use quote marks (“ ”) around search phrases (multiple words that should be searched together), e.g. “racial discrimination”
  • Use an asterisk * to  search words with alternate endings, such as empower* (empower, empowering, empowerment)  

Example:

 "protest music"

 "African Americans"

 empower*

  • Click the “Search” button to begin a search
  • Based on your results, add additional synonymous words or phrases for each concept, if appropriate, with ORs in between each word or phrase

Example:

"protest music"

 "African Americans" OR Black*

 empower* OR "civil rights" OR freedom 

On the results page, click on an article title to see detailed information and a summary of the article.

  • To see the full-text of an article, click on PDF Full Text or HTML Full Text at the left of the detailed information page
  • To print or e-mail an article, click on the print or e-mail buttons on the right task bar. A source citation will also be sent when you email a document. You can select the citation format (MLA, APA, Chicago) from the menu in the email box.

If no full-text article is displayed for an article, request the article by completing the Article Delivery Service (ADS) form.  Requests through the ADS will usually be sent to you within 24 hours (often within a much shorter time.)

Searching Google

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

  • To limit to a specific domain, use site: in front of the domain name (no spaces), e.g.
  •    site:.edu   will limit a search to just .edu sites
       site:.edu OR site:.gov   will limit a search to either .edu or .gov sites
       -site:.com  will exclude .com
  • To limit to a specific website, use site: in front of the website address (no spaces), e.g.
       site:nytimes.com   will limit a search to just the N.Y. Times website        
       site:sfgate.com      will limit a search to just the S.F. Chronicle website

The Atlantic                         (theatlantic.com)

The New Yorker                  (newyorker.com)

NPR                                    (npr.org)

New York Times                  (nytimes.com) 

Washington Post                 (washingtonpost.com)

  • When you find a relevant web page in Google results, you can find other pages on similar topics by using Google’s “Similar” option:
       - Click on the pull-down arrow to the right of the green URL line of a Google result
       - Then click on "Similar", if available (not available for all results)
  • Limit by time period:
       - Click on “Search Tools” at the top of the results page;
       - Then click on “Any Time” pull-down menu.