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ACCP: Liberty High School Research Guide

Selecting and Choosing Keywords

Library Databases

Keyword Searching

When doing searches in databases, you should describe your topic using these operators:

Use the Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) to improve your results

  • use AND to combine search terms: elementary AND "special education" to get results on elementary special education.
  • use OR to combine search terms:  elementary OR "special education" to get results on either elementary or special education.
  • use NOT to combine search terms:  elementary NOT "special education" to get results about elementary that excludes special education

Use truncation to improve your results

  • use quotation marks (") to indicate a phrase:  results on "special education" rather than special and education
  • use an asterisk (*) as a wild card: education* will give wider results, education, educational, educations, etc
  • use a question mark (?) to replace a single character:  wom?n will give you both woman and women.

How to Read a Citation

To order an article, please pay attention to these terms:

Periodical articles (like newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals) will have volume and/or issue numbers and usually a day, month, or season of publication along with the year. Also, they will indicate the page numbers of the article.

Lancaster, Kurt "Neil Gaiman's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream': Shakespeare Integrated into Popular Culture" Journal of American & Comparative Cultures23, no. 3 (2000 Fall): p. 69-77

Newspapers will often include the number of words in the article rather than the number of pages (since many news articles are fairly short). Page numbers will also often include the section (A, B, C, D, etc.) of the paper too (3E in this case).

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), October 8, 2003, Wednesday, Metro Edition, VARIETY; BOOKS MIDWEEK; Pg. 3E, 680 words, ILLUSTRATED BOOKS; Neil Gaiman brings Morpheus back, Eric Hanson; Staff Writer

TIP: To find this in the catalog, search for Journal of American & Comparative Cultures or Star Tribune) NOT the title of the article.

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