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Effective Searching: Part 2 - Broaden your search (Generic Web)

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Effective Searching: Part 2 - Broaden your search (Generic Web)

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Effective Searching: Part 2 - Broaden your search (Generic Web)

  1. 1. Effective Searching 2: Broaden your search
  2. 2. 1. Effective searching overview: key concepts 2. Broadening your Search - synonyms, wildcards, truncation tools 3. Narrowing your search - proximity connectors, phrase searching, exclusions 4. Constructing your search - grouping, search history, evaluating your search 5. Citation Searching Presentations summary
  3. 3. Effective Searching 2: Broadening your search This short slide deck will provide an overview of what you should consider when constructing your search, to avoid missing any relevant results. It forms part 2 of a series covering some of the tolls available to you to construct an effective search. Part 1 covered considering the key concepts around which to structure your search.
  4. 4. Define your information need • What types of resource do you need? • Identify where to search. • Identify your key concepts. Broaden your search • Be compre- hensive. • Ensure nothing is missed un- necessarily. • “Cast your nets wide.” Narrow your search • Be focused. • Exclude any ‘noise’. • Ensure you can use your reading time most efficiently. • “Use the right nets.” Evaluate your results • Identify gaps. • Assess un- expected results. • Review search terms with new knowl- edge. Make your results work for you • Be efficient with your time. • Search alerts. • Citation searching. Effective Searching 2: Broadening your search
  5. 5. Effective Searching 2: Broadening your search We will cover: (1) Alternative terms (Boolean connectors) a) Synonyms b) Changes in terminology (2) Alternative spelling (Wildcards) a) Francophone and American English spellings b) Style Guides (3) Word stems (Truncation tools)
  6. 6. Effective Searching 2: Broadening your search Let’s start with: (1) Alternative terms (Boolean connectors) a) Synonyms b) Changes in terminology (2) Alternative spelling (Wildcards) a) Francophone and American English spellings b) Style Guides (3) Word stems (Truncation tools)
  7. 7. Alternative terms 1: Synonyms First, you should consider the different keywords which might describe each of your key concepts around which you are structuring your search. For example, if the first key concept for your research question is: teenagers
  8. 8. Synonyms: Using “OR” teenager OR adolescent Alternative terms 1: Synonyms
  9. 9. Synonyms: Using “OR” … will return all results which include either the term teenager or the term adolescent, as well as all results in which both terms are mentioned (and no results in which neither are mentioned) teenager adolescent Alternative terms 1: Synonyms
  10. 10. Synonyms: Using “OR” … and can be extended to cover where there may be multiple synonyms to account for. adolescent teenager juvenile “young person” teenager OR adolescent OR juvenile OR “young person” Alternative terms 1: Synonyms
  11. 11. Synonyms: Using “OR” Many databases assume if don’t include the “OR” connector, you only want results where ALL of the terms entered appear. e.g. sddsfsdsdfsdfsdfsdfsdf “If you want to search for pages that may have just one of several words, include OR (capitalised) between the words. Without the OR, your results would typically show only pages that match both terms.” https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/136861?hl=en Alternative terms 1: Synonyms
  12. 12. Synonyms: Using “OR” Some databases assume if the “OR” connector isn’t present, you only want results where the terms appear exactly next to each other, such as a phrase. e.g. dffffffdfffffffffffffffffff Example: Butterfly: Over 3,000 results Lepidoptera: Over 3,000 results Butterfly OR Lepidoptera: Over 3,000 results Butterfly Lepidoptera: 51 results (as at 24th June 2019) e.g. butterfly (Lepidoptera) Lepidoptera Butterfly: 131 results (as at 24th June 2019) Alternative terms 1: Synonyms
  13. 13. Alternative terms 2: Changes in terminology Remember, you “search process” is a journey. As you explore a topic, your knowledge and understanding changes. This can mean you become aware of new keywords you may want to incorporate into your search which at first you were unaware of. This might include changes in terminology over time.
  14. 14. Changes in terminology: Using “OR” “Mental retardation” OR “Intellectual disability” OR “Cognitive disability” Alternative terms 2: Changes in terminology
  15. 15. Use of term “Mental Retardation” Use of term “Intellectual Disability” Mental Retardation was replaced as the preferred term in UK and other academic publications from 1980s... … but was still the preferred term in the US until the APA, and changes in US Federal Law, officially changed terminology in 2013. Alternative terms 2: Changes in terminology
  16. 16. Alternative terms 2: Changes in terminology These charts show the frequency of the differing terms in the literature over time. We can see the decline in use of the phrase “mental retardation” from about 2009…
  17. 17. “mental retardation” “intellectual disability” 136 results use both 505 results 2,681 results Publications in 2018 (Scopus data) But you may still need to account for use of “out- dated” terminology, even in more recent publications! In this example, over 15% of possible results from one year alone could be missed if only using current preferred terminology. Alternative terms 2: Changes in terminology
  18. 18. Effective Searching 2: Broadening your search Now let’s look at: (1) Alternative terms (Boolean connectors) a) Synonyms b) Changes in terminology (2) Alternative spelling (Wildcards) a) Francophone and American English spellings b) Style Guides (3) Word stems (Truncation tools)
  19. 19. Alternative spellings First, a caveat: the focus here will be on English language publications. But the same can be applied for searching in other languages and multilingual publications. It is often wise to try and account for any terms which might be missed due to alternative ways they could be written in the English language.
  20. 20. Think about Americanised and Francophone word spellings: • colour or color • centre or center • licence or license • organised or organized Alternative spellings
  21. 21. Style guides: Guardian Tendinitis Sunday Times Tendinitis OR Tendonitis Sunday Telegraph Tendonitis Alternative spellings
  22. 22. Alternative spellings Failing to account for these can result in you not seeing all of the results which might be potentially relevant, just because of a difference in spelling…
  23. 23. Via Flickr Creative Commons, by Pink Sherbert Photography. Original available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/70873497@N02/6935006104/ Donut Doughnut - 10,055 results in Discover (as at 4th August 2020) - 15,475 results in Discover (as at 4th August 2020) - Either / Or = 25,150 results in Discover Alternative spellings
  24. 24. Alternative spellings … or might present the results in a different order, effectively ‘hiding’ some of the results from your immediate …
  25. 25. Style guides: Guardian Tendinitis Sunday Times Tendinitis OR Tendonitis Sunday Telegraph Tendonitis Alternative spellings
  26. 26. You could still use the “OR” connector, but a simpler solution is often to use a WILDCARD to represent 0,1 or more alternative letters. – organi?ation will find: organisation or organization alternative letters – labo?r will find: labor or labour missing letters – d?nut will find: donut or doughnut multiple missing letters Alternative spellings
  27. 27. A quick note on hyphens Spider-man Batman Iron man Be aware of hyphenated words…
  28. 28. A quick note on hyphens How databases account for these in searches can vary, and you may need to account for this. Example (from assisting with Systematic Review): “subjective wellbeing” OR “subjective well-being” … worked better in some databases than “subjective well?being” … because in some cases, a wildcard only looked for an alternative or missing alpha-numeric character (a-z, 0-9). Don’t assume… test how the use of a wildcard works for your search, and in each database you use. Be aware of hyphenated words…
  29. 29. Effective Searching 2: Broadening your search Now let’s look at: (1) Alternative terms (Boolean connectors) a) Synonyms b) Changes in terminology (2) Alternative spelling (Wildcards) a) Francophone and American English spellings b) Style Guides (3) Word stems (Truncation tools)
  30. 30. Word stems You may also need to account for simply how an author might have used the keyword you have identified in their text...
  31. 31. • Truncation tools – Word stems (truncation searching) – negligen* will find: “Police were accused of negligence” “Police were accused of acting negligently” “Police were accused of being negligent” Word Stems
  32. 32. • Truncation tools – Word stems (truncation searching) for plurals Word Stems In this example, video* might be intended to bring back all results mentioning the terms video or videos….
  33. 33. • Truncation tools – Word stems (truncation searching) for plurals Word Stems But a quick check shows it is returning more than just ‘video OR videos’ (55 extra results in fact, which you may not want to have to wade through)
  34. 34. • Truncation tools – Word stems (truncation searching) for plurals – Other results picked up with video* • Video 615 • Videos 59 • Videotape, videolink etc. 55 – Lesson: be careful what extra terms you might inadvertently include. Sometimes an ‘OR’ connector might work better for your search. Word Stems
  35. 35. Summary So in summary: Broadening your search – Summary Alternative terms understanding OR comprehension Alternative spellings organi?ation labo?r Word stems negligen* Terminology and symbols vary, depending on which database or catalogue you are using. See our database examples guide.
  36. 36. Effective Searching Define your information need • What types of resource do you need? • Identify where to search. • Identify your key concepts. Broaden your search • Be compre- hensive. • Ensure nothing is missed un- necessarily. • “Cast your nets wide.” Narrow your search • Be focused. • Exclude any ‘noise’. • Ensure you can use your reading time most efficiently. • “Use the right nets.” Evaluate your results • Identify gaps. • Assess un- expected results. • Review search terms with new knowl- edge. Make your results work for you • Be efficient with your time. • Search alerts. • Citation searching.
  37. 37. Effective Searching 3: Narrow your search

Editor's Notes

  • Senior Manager: Library Research Services james.bisset@durham.ac.uk

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  • DEFINE

    - This has two motivations:

    In terms of form, you must search in the most appropriate places, having decided the type and amount of information you want based upon your information need
    In terms of subject, you are also defining your boundaries. It is likely that for any extended piece of research you are going to have multiple ‘contexts’ and ‘avenues’ to explore – and there may be other linked areas you are not interested in. Having a broad understanding of the topic may also help inform your choice of search term, as well as helping you identify those areas you wish to exclude from your search.

    BROADEN

    Metaphor – cast your net wide to make sure you can capture as much as possible that ‘might’ be relevant, and ensuring you aren’t missing anything which might potentially be useful.

    - this is about being comprehensive, rather than focussing to precisely to start with.

    This is about ensuring you don’t inadvertently miss anything.

    NARROW

    Metaphor: ensuring you are using the right nets for the job to allow those results you don’t want to slip through the holes, and those you are to be pulled onto your deck.

    - once you have ensured your search can be as comprehensive as possible, you then need to make sure you focus it to help filter out the ‘noise’ and to just return the most relevant results.

    This is about ensuring you use your reading time most efficiently.

    EVALUATE

    This is not about critically evaluating the content and conclusions of the articles.

    This is about evaluating your results as a whole to identify problems with your search, or improvements you could make.

    - rarely will you find all the most relevant and appropriate results in your first search. Using the results you do find to identify:-

    Key authors, or opposing arguments, to explore further
    Alternative and additional search terms
    Specific topics you might want to focus on
    New avenues of research topic or methodology

    WORK FOR YOU

    Finally, this is about using those key sources you locate to work for you:-

    - providing you with a rich source of pre-selected earlier research from their own list of references
    - citation searching to see how the ideas and research in the key sources you have identified have been taken and developed further



  • - Now itself perceived as not politically acceptable and being replaced by terms including “intellectual disability”.
    - Still in use in the United States and by the WHO sometime after the phrase became less commonly used in United Kingdom.
    - APA officially changed terminology in 2013 and under federal US law
    - Changes in terminology and spelling especially important when searching historic sources such as newspapers, official publication and pamphlet collections.
    2018: Scopus Data
    - “mental retardation” = 641 results
    - “intellectual disability” = 2,817 results
    - “mental retardation AND intellectual disability” = 136 results
  • Many databases will search for the exact word/spelling you type in. Others might match to a pre-defined, or AI generated, list of related terms and spellings – although this may not include every possibility.
  • As postgraduate researchers, there is not just a pressure to “find some stuff”… but you will feel you are expected to have found and read everything which is of relevance to your topic of research, and read around the edges to clearly define your topic.

    Reading everything is, of course, an impossible task. So what you actually need to have is the confidence, (for meetings with supervisors, conference papers you deliver, articles your write… and then your final completed thesis, your viva and any subsequent direction your career takes you…) the confidence that you have found (and read) everything of importance, and an ability to articulate and demonstrate why you are confident you have searched for that information effectively.

    DEFINE

    - This has two motivations:

    In terms of form, you must search in the most appropriate places, having decided the type and amount of information you want based upon your information need
    In terms of subject, you are also defining your boundaries. It is likely that for any extended piece of research you are going to have multiple ‘contexts’ and ‘avenues’ to explore – and there may be other linked areas you are not interested in. Having a broad understanding of the topic may also help inform your choice of search term, as well as helping you identify those areas you wish to exclude from your search.

    BROADEN

    Metaphor – cast your net wide to make sure you can capture as much as possible that ‘might’ be relevant, and ensuring you aren’t missing anything which might potentially be useful.

    - this is about being comprehensive, rather than focussing to precisely to start with.

    This is about ensuring you don’t inadvertently miss anything.

    NARROW

    Metaphor: ensuring you are using the right nets for the job to allow those results you don’t want to slip through the holes, and those you are to be pulled onto your deck.

    - once you have ensured your search can be as comprehensive as possible, you then need to make sure you focus it to help filter out the ‘noise’ and to just return the most relevant results.

    This is about ensuring you use your reading time most efficiently.

    EVALUATE

    This is not about critically evaluating the content and conclusions of the articles.

    This is about evaluating your results as a whole to identify problems with your search, or improvements you could make.

    - rarely will you find all the most relevant and appropriate results in your first search. Using the results you do find to identify:-

    Key authors, or opposing arguments, to explore further
    Alternative and additional search terms
    Specific topics you might want to focus on
    New avenues of research topic or methodology

    WORK FOR YOU

    Finally, this is about using those key sources you locate to work for you:-

    - providing you with a rich source of pre-selected earlier research from their own list of references
    - citation searching to see how the ideas and research in the key sources you have identified have been taken and developed further



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