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First Year Program Dept. 199 Library Instruction

Here are the information literacy basics for second semester students taking the 199 Research Based Writing Course.

Bring IT All Together

The research organization worksheet to the right brings together all the aspects of the research process we've learned thus far:

  • The topic and research question
  • The concept terms from the research question
  • Synonyms for each concept term (that you've brainstormed or learned from a reference source or from a broad search in a multidisciplinary database).
  • Utilization of Boolean Operators AND OR
  • Truncation (agressi* will return results for the words aggressive and aggression)
  • Phrase Searching ("video games" in quotes will return results for the two words together as a phrase)

This is a visual way to organize your research.  The information on the chart can then be transferred easily to a database.


Use the blank worksheet at the top of this box to create your own search statement

Create a Search Statement Sample Worksheet

Image of creating a search statement using Video Violent Children.  Those three words are combined in a search using AND  OR  to refine the search

Word Algebra

The worksheet above can be transcribed into a search string (What I like to call "word algebra")

Here's how it would look written out:

("Video Games" OR "Grand Theft Auto" OR "Mortal Combat") AND (Violen* OR Aggressi*) AND (Child* OR Teen* OR Adolescen*)

Here's how it would look in a database:

example image of a database search string using AND  OR

Notice that this particular database automatically inserts the Boolean operator AND.  Use a different search box for each concept, listing a few of your best synonyms separated by the Boolean operator OR.  Notice, too, that the Boolean operators are in all caps.