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Find Background Information
Encyclopedias and Reference Books
Consists of a fully searchable and browsable collection of authoritative references,
CQ (Congressional Quarterly) Researcher Plus Archive
The CQ Researcher Plus Archive explores a single “hot” issue in the news in depth each week. Topics range from social issues to environment, health, education and science and technology.
Credo Reference is a general reference database and is a great place to start your research. There are several ready-reference encyclopedias and fact books.
From Off Campus
The Research Process
1. Choose a topic that interests you. Find background information to help you know more about your topic and to narrow your focus.
2. Think of a search strategy. What do you want more information on? Choose keywords you can use to search for your topic. Think of key concepts, synonyms, and related terms.
4. Evaluate. Modify your keywords or databases if you're not finidng good sources. Research is a process.
Keyword Searching in the Library Catalog and Databases
Using AND/OR/NOT (Boolean Search Operators)
Use AND to focus your search and to combine different aspects of your topic.
Example: environment and agriculture and "South Africa"
Use OR to expand your search and find synonyms/related terms.
Example: "global warming" or "climate change"
Use NOT to exclude a word or phrase from your search
Example: tsunami not Japan
"Phrase search": Use quotation marks to search for a particular phrase. Example: "greenhouse gas emissions"
Truncation *: Use an asterisk to find variations of a word. Put an asterisk following the root of the word to find all variations of that word, including singular and plural. Example: environment* (finds environments, environmental, environmentalist, etc.)
(Grouping/Nesting Keywords): Use parentheses as a way to group all your search terms together. Example: (climate change or global warming) and population growth
Recommendation for Library Purchase
The Library welcomes suggestions for books, journals, videos and other material. Please use the Recommendation for Purchase form to send your suggestions.