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Phi Theta Kappa: Research Tips

Includes resources and research tips to help Phi Theta Kappa students and anyone looking for scholarly information

Advanced Search Tips

These strategies apply to almost any database (or search engine), from Google to Academic Search Complete.  Use a Concept Map to think about your research question before you start the actual searching (see right).


​Boolean Logic

Databases, including Google, use Boolean Logic to combine search terms. (Google assumes an "AND" between search terms).  Boolean operators allow you to combine synonyms and concepts and eliminate different meanings of words

The Boolean Operators are AND, OR, NOT

Truncation

Truncation allows you to use a word stem to search for strings of various characters.

Parentheses ( ) let you combine synonyms to search for a group of them at once.  It's like a math problem, where you do what's in parentheses first!   Here's where you can get really wordy with your search. So....

(canines or dogs) AND (ecology or habitat)

Map out your search strategy

Creating a concept map can help you set up your search.  Pose your research question then determine the elements of your search. Add synonyms to create a great search!

Selecting the right number of keywords

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