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General Search Strategies Where do I go?

 

• Check  to  see  if  there's  a  Pathfinder  created  for  your  search  needs.   • Start  with  Databases  to  access  reliable  information  not  indexed  by  search  engines.   • Think  about  the  possible  Information  Container.  For  example:  Will  a  map  help  answer  my   question?  If  so,  look  at  an  atlas,  map,  or  image  database.     • Think  about  Who  might  publish  the  information  you're  looking  for.  For  example:  Will  accurate   statistics  help  answer  my  question?  If  so,  look  at  nonpartisan  Government  agencies,  a   reputable  almanac,  or  the  search  engine  Wolfram  Alpha.   • Use  multiple  databases  and  search  engines  to  find  what  you’re  looking  for!  

What do I put in the Search Box? • Think  about  the  Answer  rather  than  the  question:    What  will  its  title  be?  What  words  will  most   likely  appear  in  the  article?  Use  these  words  as  your  Search  Query.   • Use  Advanced  Search  when  available  to  specify  your  search.   • Longer  search  string=Less  hits/results,  Shorter  search  string=More  hits/results   • Use  Quotes  to  keep  words  together.  For  example:  "peanut  butter" • Use  Boolean  Operators:                        Use  "NOT"  to  limit  results.  For  example:  peanut  NOT  butter                        Use  "OR"  for  more  hits.  For  example:  peanut  OR  butter • Eliminate  little,  non-­‐important  words;  these  confuse  searching  functions. • Use  *  to  truncate  word.  For  example:  boat*  searches  for  results  including  boats  and  boating • Change  the  order  of  words  in  your  search  string.  Try  synonyms,  plural  and  non-­‐plural  forms.   Eliminate  and  or  add  words. • Keep  in  mind  that  every  search  engine/database  uses  a  different  set  of  search   rules/parameters.  To  find  out  more,  go  to  the  site's  help  menu. • Remember  to  use  "Control  F"  to  find  search  terms  within  a  website  or  document. • If  you’re  having  trouble  look  at  your  HIT  List.  It  may  help  tell  you  what  you’re  doing  wrong. • BE PERSISTANT! TRY, TRY, and TRY AGAIN!  

MOST IMPORTANTLY, ALWAYS EVALUATE YOUR SOURCES OF INFORMATION! • Who  wrote  it?  Is  the  author  an  expert?  Do  they  have  authority?  What  is  his/her/their  purpose   • •

for  providing  the  information?  What  might  be  his/her/their  BIAS? Is  the  Information  Current?   Is  it  Relevant  to  my  information  need?

ALWAYS CREDIT YOUR SOURCES and FEEL GOOD ABOUT WHOM YOU’RE CREDITING! REMEMBER: BAD INFORMATION MAKES YOU LOOK UNINTELLIGENT!!!


Search Strategies