OARE Module 2:Searching Strategies
Table of Contents
Planning a SearchTypes of SourcesBoolean OperatorsGoogle vs. (Google) ScholarEvaluating Web Information
Planning a Search Strategy
Example (Steps 1-4) health problems AND water pollutionAsk: What health problems are associated with water pollution? Need: scholarly primary research Main Concepts: health, water, pollutionSelect terms:Broader terms: health, environmental degradation, agricultural management, Synonyms: health, illness, disease, etc.water, rivers, lakes, sea, domestic water, etc.pollution, oil spills, chemical, biological, toxicity, etcAlternative spellings: (harbour, harbour) (specialization, specialisation) (aluminium, aluminium)Plurals: river(s), lake(s), disease(s)Capitals: e.g. name of a specific lake, disease, region
5. Select a Source
6. Search: construct a search using the appropriate commands and best practices Question: What health problems are associated with water pollution? Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3 Concept 4 healthpollutionwaterproblems5. water6. H2O3. problems4. complicationshealthwellbeing9 = 1 OR 2 10 = 3 OR 411 = 5 OR 612 = 7 OR 87. pollution8. contamination 13 = 9 AND 10 AND 11 AND 12
7. ReviseReview and refine you search be prepared to review/revise your search keep your search terms in concept sets/zones but remember to explore subtopics try new sources of information save the search and citations for future use; usually an option in the search tool - if you register promote use of high-quality resources
8. Manage Results9. Evaluate-Who? What? When? Where? Why?Download, print, save, e-mail results & search historyCite using a biological or ecological citation styleSave search, set up alerts (not available in SCOPUS)AccuracyAuthorityObjectivityCurrencyCoverage
10. Apply Answer the question
Boolean OperatorsAND Operator (to combine two concepts)the AND operator is used to combine two concepts e.g. groundwater AND heavy metals results are in the combined area of the two circlesNote: the parentheses are used to limit the results to the exact phrase in this case (heavy metals)groundwater(heavy metals) or(heavy metal*)
In the Environment Index database, the groundwater AND (heavy metals) search has 860 results.
the AND operator is used to combine three concepts e.g. groundwater AND (heavy metals) AND pollution - in the combined area of the three circlesgroundwater (heavy metals)AND Operator (to combine three concepts)pollution
The groundwater AND (heavy metals) AND pollution has 473 results nearly half of the previous search.
the OR is a means of combining terms e.g. mercury OR lead - in each circles area with the overlap in the middle having both search terms mercuryleadOR Operator (info containing one or other term)
The mercury OR lead search has 97,832 results a huge number.
NOT Operator (in one term or the other)
the mercury NOT lead option limits the search to one term (mercury) only in the left area; it eliminates items in 2nd term (lead) or both terms (center)Note: NOT does not work in Scholar and possible would eliminate some useful references; use judiciouslymercurylead
The mercury NOT lead search has 13,138 results significantly less than mercury AND lead.
Other search engine functionsPhrase or proximity searching: or () allows you to search for an exact phrase, e.g. diseases AND (water pollution) or groundwater AND (heavy metals)Truncation/wildcards: * allow you to search alternative spellings and plurals river* for river OR rivers pesticide* for pesticide OR pesticides program* for programme OR programAlternate spellings: ?can be used to substitute for characters anywhere in a word wom?n for woman or women harb?r for harbor or harbour
Asia AND (mercury OR lead)
mercuryleadAsiaAsia AND (mercury OR lead) in the shaded area The OR operator retains items in each term and the AND operator is used to combine two concepts
The Asia AND (mercury or lead) search has 1,108 results a more precise search.
More Search Techniques
Field Specific Searchingauthor, title, journal, date, url, etc. Language Restrictions, Humans or Animals and other limits (see various OARE accessible databases)Relevancy Ranking a grading that gives extra weight to a document when the search terms appear in the headline or are capitalizedevery found document is calculated as 100% multiply by the angle formed by weights vector for request and weights vector for document found
Google vs. (Google) ScholarThis is the Google search engine. Queries are typed into the Search box in this case OARE/Online Access to Research in the Environment.
Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature.(Google) Scholar
The Scholar search for OARE results in academic articles and books where OARE is one of the authors DA Oare and TR Oare.
Evaluating Web InformationCriteria for EvaluationAccuracyAuthorityCurrencyCoverageObjectivityDesign/Navigation Use the 6 criteria to evaluate the value of information from a website since Internet material is not reviewed and evaluated.
Google search: global warmingThe Google search for global warming results in general articles including news reports and advertisements from Google.
Scholar: global warmingThe Scholar search for global warming results in academic articles and books where global warming is the topic.
Google search: global warming hoaxThe Google search for global warming hoax results in general articles including news reports and pseudo scientific websites that argue against global warming.
Scholar: global warming hoaxThe Scholar search for global warming hoax results contain academic articles and books about the hoax as atopic.
Exercises Complete Module 2 exercises #1 - 2 in the accompanying OARE exercises document Updated: July 2015
**This and the subsequent slides summarize the steps for effective searching. The initial steps can be completed prior to accessing the Internet and a specific database or resource. This is advisable when there is low-bandwidth and high-cost for Internet access.
*In this example, you will see numerous options for this search. Some of these options will enable you to broaden the search while others will limit it.
*Note that tertiary sources are more general than secondary sources which include abstracts, bibliographies and reviews valuable background information. Primary sources are original research such as conference posters/papers, journal articles, etc. For research projects, primary sources are essential. This slide cites types of material for a health-related search so some of the examples are not relevant.*Note how this search uses both the OR and AND Boolean operators (to be discussed in subsequent slides). First, the OR is used to expand the search. Then, the AND is used to combine terms and make the search more precise. Note: this is theoretical search, not done with any of the OARE search tools.*We now will view a series of searches using the Boolean operators. Using the AND operator makes this search more precise or limited.*The following search results are from the Environmental Index database, one of the three tools you have to complete keyword searches for specific full-text articles. *Note that the three combined AND terms make the search even more precise/limited. With this request, we are asking the system to find documents with the three concepts together.*In contrast to the AND search operator, the OR one expands the search. We have used two terms that are related mercury and lead both being heavy metals - and have expanded the results.*Using the NOT operator, this search is for only mercury and eliminates any articles about lead.
**While many search engines and databases contain these options, the exact terminology may differ [e.g. for proximity searching or () ]. For example, in Google, the AND Boolean Operator is automatically used. *By combining AND plus proximity searching with the OR operator, we have expanded a search to include to two broad subjects and use a geographic limit.
*Relevancy Ranking is the sorting of the results of the search so that the most relevant documents are listed first. With the huge numbers in the Google searches, this ranking is invaluable.The text in this section uses some material developed by INASP for the Search Engines and Effective Searching on the Web presentation. All INASP training materials, unless explicitly stated otherwise, are copyright INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications) and are freely available for use in educational settings.
*Google is the worlds most popular search engine with the goal being to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Called page rank, Google introduced a unique concept of determining which pages rank the highest in the results list. When you complete a Google search, the pages with the most links pointing to them from other sites, known as back-links, are placed higher up in the list because they are considered more popular and thus more relevant. *Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research. From this search engine, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and othe