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SS 204 Introduction to Geography: Search Strategies

Carreras

Tips For Finding Quality Websites and Other Sources

  • Always check websites for quality content before using! This guide to the 5ws of Website Evaluation guides you through the process.

  • Limit your Google search to a specific domain by using site:.gov (or .edu, .org, etc) along with your search terms, for example, your search bar would look like this algeria site:.gov

  • Use those references! If you find the perfect article or source, see what they have cited to find even more related content.  This will usually be found on the works cited or reference page, at the bottom of the webpage, or hyperlinked in the article's body.

Resource Types and Validity

Reference resources like encyclopedias, country profiles, and website data may provide a lot of facts, but you'll have to add the context and meaning to your essay.  Academic articles can provide more in depth analysis, so be sure to try a variety of source types for better research.

Likewise, using a variety of sources (whether different or similar types) helps you validate the information you are using, making you a responsible consumer of information. If the information of one source does not match that of another, that should be your clue to keep looking until you can be more certain that the information you intend to use is correct. There could be several reasons why a certain resource does not match the information of another, including outdated information, biased information, opinions, or intentional misinformation (i.e., the information could be technically true, but the author leaves out context or data to skew your interpretation).

Advanced Searching Techniques

When searching for a resource, use Boolean operators to combine topics, expand on topics, or exclude subjects you aren't interested in.

  AND OR NOT
How to use in a search box

In between words or terms that are all/both important to your topic.

England AND religion

Synonyms and related terms.

religion OR belief system

Terms unrelated to your topic, if any.

NOTE: You will really only add NOT if you continually see resources in your search results that don't feel relevant to you.

England AND religion NOT politics

Your search results will include...

ALL the terms you use.

All resources will discuss BOTH England AND religion

At least ONE of the terms you use.

All resources will discuss EITHER religion OR belief system.

NONE of the terms you associate with NOT. 

Only resources that discuss both England and religion, but not politics.

Putting it all together... 

England AND (religion OR belief system) NOT politics

Business Librarian

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Robin Vickery
Contact:
Hazy Library, Room 240
928-777-3915
robin.vickery@erau.edu