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CMP101 - Composition 1 - Carnevale

11/18 Library Presentation

Goals for today’s session:

  1. Identify a practice research topic
  2. Develop a search strategy for your topic (ID keywords & search terms)
  3. Use your list of keywords to begin searching in the library databases
  4. Practice using the advanced search
  5. Evaluate your sources

Developing your search strategy:

  1. Choose a topic
  2. Consider whether your topic is neither too broad or too narrow
  3. Rewrite your topic in the form of a question. What question are you trying to answer in your research paper? (This doesn’t have to be definitive and it can change over time!)
  4. Break your topic into high level concepts and come up with some keywords that you can use to find information about each of them. List synonyms, similar terms, broader terms, narrower terms, and alternative phrases. These keywords will help you when searching for information in library databases.

Walk-through example:

  1. Use Global Issues in Context as a starting point to browse topics, start gathering keywords and synonyms.
  2. Example Topic: Electronic Waste
    • Read through main article to find background information, as well as potential ideas for a more focused topic/research question
    • Pull out keywords and synonyms for further searching
      • Electronic waste
      • E-waste
      • Impact
      • Environmental impact
      • Health hazard
      • Children
      • Developing countries
      • Heavy metals
      • Toxins
      • Contamination
      • Poisoning
      • E-waste recycling
      • Informal recycling
  3. Switch over to Snap!Search
    • Start with a basic keyword search: Electronic Waste
    • Skim results to continue building a keyword list based on your interest
    • Advanced search
      • Electronic Waste AND children
      • Electronic Waste AND children AND heavy metals
      • Electronic Waste AND children AND lead
    • Start saving articles to come back to. Consider the following: What type of article are you using?
      • What is the date of publication?
      • What is the publication name?
      • Does the article help you answer your research question?

Breakout Groups:

Now it’s your turn! We will split up into breakout rooms for about 15mins and do the following:

  • Choose a topic; Take a stab at writing a research question (i.e. what question do you want your paper to answer?);
  • Identify a list of search terms -- synonyms, similar terms, broader terms, narrower terms, and alternative phrases;
  • Use these search terms in the library databases and identify one or two sources.
  • For each source, consider the source type, the publisher, and whether you think this article will help you answer your research question; and
  • Use our shared Google Doc to record your notes and responses!


This will be a chance for each group to share their search process and findings.