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English 101 and 102: Home

This research guide will help you find quality information to support the ideas you write in your essays. It also provides resources to assist in proper citation.
Welcome to the English 101/102 WVU Tech Research Guide. After using this guide, you will know the basics of searching for articles and books, analyzing sample freshman papers, distinguishing between plagiarism and proper citation, and critically evaluating information

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Searching

Searching with keywords instead of phrases and connecting them with Boolean operators get you more targeted search results.

Using Boolean Operators

Boolean operators “AND”, “OR”, and “NOT” define relationships between words. How do they work?

“AND” – searches all of your search terms. Example: poverty and population and income. Records will contain all these terms. Fewer records are retrieved, but more precise.

OR” – either or both terms are retrieved. Example: mouse OR rat. More records are retrieved, but less precise.

“NOT” – when used it excludes or ignores words from the search. Example: dementia NOT Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is excluded from the search results. Using “NOT” can be tricky. You may eliminate a word associated with your topic that may provide additional information. This search helps to narrow your results, but is very restrictive.

Use this worksheet to plan your search strategy. This will really help.

  1. Describe your topic in two sentences. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Tip:  Consider what the information is you want to find
  • Example: I want to locate information on the percentage of the population that is considered to be impoverished. I want to include statistics on non-working and low income working families.

 

2.Identify the main concepts of your topic. Using your statement choose the main concepts/ideas and combine with Boolean operator “and”.

 

Concept/keywords #1

 

Concept/keywords #2

 

Concept/keywords #3

 

________________________

 

and

 

_____________________

 

and

 

________________________

 

3.Develop a list of search terms that may be synonymous, related, broad, or narrow. These are based on the concepts listed above.  

 

Concept/keywords #1

 

Concept/keywords #2

 

Concept/keywords #3

 

________________________

 

and

 

_____________________

 

and

 

 

_________________________

 

 

or _____________________

 

 

 

or __________________

 

 

or ______________________

 

or _____________________

 

 

 

or __________________

 

 

or ______________________

 

  • Tip: Consider alternative words and phrases. Consider synonyms or related terms; spelling variations (plurals); broader terms if your results are too few; or consider narrower terms if your results are too many. Use a thesaurus

if necessary or consult the Library of Congress Subject Headings available in the library.

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Read Me!! This is Important!

Let's discuss the difference between Internet sites and electronic journal articles or e-books.

Sometimes your instructor will limit how many Internet pages you can use as resources.  Articles or ebooks accessed through the library's databases DO NOT count as Internet sources.  Library resources are accessed through the Internet, but think of them as being shelved in a virtual electronic library.  Your tuition helps pay for these resources, and they are not available outside of our subscription. So, if you get two articles from the ProQuest database and one from Yahoo News, you have 2 library resources and 1 Internet source.

Need a topic?

Finding a topic
Browsing a database is a good way to discover a topic.  Look at the databases by subject or try browsing general databases:

 

Databases by Subject