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COMMUNICATIONS STUDIES & MEDIA ARTS 4M03 - Communication, Culture and Technology

Finding Articles

Searching Databases

The goal of a successful search is to retrieve all of the information relevant to a research question without retrieving irrelevant information. This requires creating an effective search string.

1. Identify main concepts from the research question.

2. Brainstorm alternative words and phrases.

3. Create search strings using Boolean Operators.

Boolean Operators

Cheat Sheet Boolean. Boolean logic is fundamental to the search functions of Internet search engines like Google and Library databases like JSTOR and Web of Science. As a student, correctly utilizing a few key Boolean Operators and Modifiers will provide better, and more accurate search results. Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT. AND is also implied by a blank space between words e.g. Geriatric AND Driving. Results will contain both the words Geriatric and Driving. OR E.g. Geriatric OR Elderly. Results will contain one or more of the words Elderly or Geriatric. NOT e.g. Elderly NOT "Middle Aged". Results won't contain the search term "Middle Aged." Search modifiers. " " * () Quotation / Speech Marks, e.g. "Middle aged". Results will contain the words Middle and Aged together as an exact phrase. Asterisk. e.g. Driv* Results will contain terms that begin with Driv, e.g. Drive, driver, driving, driven. Parentheses/brackets. E.g. (Geriatric OR Senior) and "Driving Cessation". results will contain "Driving Cessation" and either or both of the words geriatric or senior. Search strings. Boolean operators and modifiers can be used together to form more specific search strings. E.g. A search for journal articles about reasons for driving cessation amongst seniors might look like this: "Driving Cessation" AND (geriatric OR senior OR "Older adults"). Boolean Tips. Use AND to NARROW result. Use OR to produce BROADER results. Use NOT to remove previous results. Some applications don't support the asterisk modifier, instead construct OR statements to search all variations. Record each search string to avoid duplication.

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