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U ST 301: Orientation and Introduction to Academic Research

McNair Seminar I

Information Needs

Every day each one of us needs information for many reasons.  What kind of information needs have you had the past couple days?

Have you needed information for....

  • personal interests?
  • scholarly interests?
  • scholarly research?
  • professional interests?

Questions for us to consider:

  • What tools did you use to find your information?  
  • Were you able to easily find what you needed?
  • Did you need to use different tools for the different types of information needs?
  • Was it easier / more difficult to find certain kinds of information?

 

What is Research?

Research involves questions:

  • what is the nature of ...
  • why are things the way they are
  • how can we interpret or understand ...
  • how did something develop
  • what makes a difference in ...
  • how can we develop or improve or change ...
  • and so on....

Scenario: Rethinking a Search Strategy

Your friend is having problems finding articles for an assignment.  Your friend did the search below in Quick Search and got really unexpected and unhelpful results.  Take a close look - what might your friend do differently to get better results?

Quick Search - Search gone wrong

ACTIVITY: CHOOSING KEYWORDS & YOUR SEARCH STRATEGY

Bad computer!

Once you find a scholarly index in your subject area or discipline, you need to figure out how to search it effectively.

Because scholarly indexes usually don't handle long search statements or sentences the way Google and other web search engines can, you need to adjust your strategies.

The handy tools below can help you break down your topic into usable keywords and search statements that will work in most scholarly indexes.

Clipart courtesy Microsoft

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Next Steps:  When you have a search phrase from either of these tools, copy it and paste it ....

 

A.  into Quick Search.  Do the search and look through your results.  How many results did you find?  What are your options for narrowing your search further?

B.  into Google Scholar.  Do the search and look through your results.  How many results did you find?  What are your options for narrowing your search further?

Your Librarian

Susan A. Vega García's picture
Susan A. Vega García
Contact:
Head of Instruction
Associate Professor
140 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50011
(515) 294-4052

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