Other Guides to Consider
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Foundations of Public Administration Fall 2012
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Use this guide as a starting point for research in law and government resources.
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1) Keywords can be a word or phrase drawn from your sentence topic. You can expand your keywords by thinking of synonyms. 2) You might also want to consider the plural of the words and how to format. If you format your search like this: homeless*- you will capture both homeless or homelessness. This is called a truncation symbol and is used in most databases. In addition, if a term is used as a phrase and you want to capture each word of the phrase in a specific order, put the phrase in quotes: 3) Generally, when you do a keyword search in a library catalog or article database, the title, subject and abstract fields are searched. These fields are called the Basic Index.
The sources and exercises in this class guide are meant to complement two of the assignments in PUBA 201, Winter 2012.
By introducing a sampling of information tools, I hope that students will become more familiar with both searching and the literature sources in the field.
It's only a beginning, so if you need help on sources or have any questions on search strategies, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Search strategy: Boolean Searching
4) The process of combining terms and concepts into a search strategy is called Boolean Searching. The three major operators in Boolean searching are AND, OR and NOT. We have already looked at how OR can expand a search with synonyms. Using And in a search limits the search, as does the use of the word Not. Complex searches can use more than one operator. (youth or adolescent* or children) and poverty and (immigrant* or refugee* or migrant)
Google: top tips
1) Boolean Search: Google automatically does an AND search.For example searching for window coverings. It will automatically search for window and coverings. If you want pages that include shades OR blinds use the OR operator. OR (can also use | )IS case sensitive: OR works, or does not. For NOT or exclusion from a search, Google uses – with no space before the excluded word. You can also force a search term with + before the term. Combine Boolean Operators with parentheses – Google only recognizes one level of parentheses, you can not “nest” parenthetical operations. ( "window coverings" or "window shades" AND (cost or pricing)
|2) Exact Phrase:Use Quotes|
|3) Synonyms:Use the ~ before your search term|
|4) Date Range: After your search term put the range, e.g. 2008..2011|
5) Link Search:Find pages which link to the website you are viewing.
If the related sites are of quality, it will more credence to the page. link:www.sec.gov
Subject Headings or Descriptors are examples of a controlled vocabulary. In a library catalog and many article databases they are terms used to describe the content and are hyperlinked. Articles that have similar content will have the same subject headings even if the authors of the articles used different terms to describe the topic. For example, you might want to use the subject heading Immigrants. If you use term in Academic Search Complete, you will find more specialized terms which will help you draw the literature together, eg. immigrant families, immigrant students.
A thesaurus is a list of subject headings and is a way to find out what vocubulary the database is using. Business Source Complete has this feature. So if you look up the word immigration here, you would be referred to the term "emigration and immigration" Your references will be in a business or economic context and any subheadings will reflect that.