The Researcher’s Notebook

 

Instructions: Fill out as many of the following sections as possible.  If you have additional comments that do not fit onto these sheets, attach them at the end.

 

1.  What information do I need?

Title/topic (stated in full sentence(s) or a question(s)):

 

 

 

 

What are the concepts/ideas/themes/terms that make up my topic?

 

Think of synonyms, alternative spellings, and variant forms of words.  Consider narrow, specific, and broad terms related to the concept.

Main or broad concept:

 

Possible search terms:

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary concept (optional):

 

Possible search terms (optional):

 

 

 

 

 

Third concept (optional):

Possible search terms (optional):

 

 

 

 

How can I limit my search? Write down relevant date limits, language limits, geographic region, format of information i.e. video, web page, book.

 

 

2.  Where should I look for information?

 

Resource brainstorming

As you brainstorm, think of possible databases, Internet search engines, and other resources that might help you find information on your topic.  Come back to this section after you have searched several resources and list some of the patterns of information you see in the citations. Is there a specific author or authors who publish articles and books on your topic?  Are there organizations who supply information on your topic?  Did you find web sites with information on your topic?   Fill out only the sections that apply to your research. 

 

List databases that might provide information on your topic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key authors who publish on your topic:

 

 

 

 

Organizations who provide information on your topic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web sites that provide information on your topic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other good sources of information on your topic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Selecting and using sources of information:

 

Library Catalog for finding books  

 

Tips

 

Enter author surname first or organization name.

 

Leave out “A”, “An”, and “The” at the start of a title. 

 

Use ? as the truncation symbol to search for alternate word endings – ex. educat? – for educate, education, educator, etc. 

 

Two words searched together must have quotes – ex. “united states”.

 

Use and, or, and not to combine terms.

 

Search a known title or do a few keyword searches to find the appropriate subject headings.

Type of search

Select appropriate types of below.  You may not need to try them all.

 

Keyword

 

 

 

 

Author

 

 

 

 

Title

 

 

 

 

Journal title

 

 

 

Subject

 

 

 

 

Please consider

 

Too little information?

You may need to think broadly about your topic when searching the catalog.

 

 

Too much information?

It is useful to look at the table of contents and indexes of books to see if they contain the specific information you require.

 

Looking for journal articles?

You need to search a subject database for journal articles.  The catalog indicates if the library holds a journal, but it does not index journal articles.

 

Catalog search notes

What search strategies helped you find information on your topic?

What problems did you encounter?

Databases

 

Tips

 

Use the help button on each database to find out about its unique features and the best way to construct your search.

 

When Keyword searching you can:

·          Use search strings to link words eg: gifted students and (inclusion or differentiation)

·          Use synonyms to describe each concept and link with the word or

·          Nest concepts in parentheses eg: (inclusion or differentiation)

·          Use the appropriate truncation symbol for the specific database eg: educat* - ?. *.

·          Search each concept separately if the database allows you to combine sets of results

·          If the database does not allow you to combine sets of results, link the search string for each concept with the word and

·          Pay attention to the descriptors or subject headings that appear in the records of the citations you retrieve when keyword searching.

 

Subject or Descriptors can narrow or broaden a search when you:

·          Use the specific index or thesaurus terms particular to the database

·          Use the help information for instructions on subject searching as each database varies

·          A subject heading or descriptor will draw together all articles on a subject avoiding the use of large numbers of synonyms.

·          Use a keyword search to find an excellent article on your topic, then analyze the subject headings or descriptors associated with it. 

 

When you use the KU Link:

·          Many of the databases accessed through the KU Libraries’ web site allow you to use the KU Link to find out if KU had access to an article in electronic full-text.

·          If the KU Link does not show linking access to full-text, your next step is to use the link to the Library Catalog to search by ISSN/ISBN, the unique number for journals or books, or search by title.

·          The Library Catalog will tell you if the Libraries has access to a journal in electronic full-text or in print.

·          If KU Libraries does not own access to the electronic or print versions of the materials you need, the KU Link will provide you with a direct link to order the articles “if not available from the KU Libraries.

 

Use the Request Materials link from the main KU Libraries web page:

·          To order journal articles that the Libraries owns in print to be delivered electronically to your desktop.

·          To order books, dissertations, videotapes, and other formats that the Libraries does not own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research plan

 

 

Name of database

Type of search

 

 

1.

Search string using keywords:                         

 

 

 

Subject headings or descriptors:

 

 

 

Other types of searches e g: author, journal title, article title:

 

 

 

2.

Search string using keywords:

 

 

 

Subject headings or descriptors:

 

 

 

Other types of searches e g: author, journal title, article title:

 

 

3.

Search string using keywords:

 

 

 

Subject headings or descriptors:

 

 

 

Other types of searches e g: author, journal title, article title:

 

 

 

4.

Search string using keywords:

 

 

 

Subject headings or descriptors:

 

 

 

Other types of searches e g: author, journal title, article title:

 

 

 

 

5.

Search string using keywords:

 

 

 

Subject headings or descriptors:

 

 

 

Other types of searches e g: author, journal title, article title:

 

 

 

Please consider

 

Too little information?

You may need to think broadly about your topic when

searching the catalog.

 

 

Too much information?

It is useful to look at the table of contents and indexes of books to see if they contain the specific information you require.

 

Database searches:

 

 

 

Internet

 

Tips

 

Use the help button on each search tool to find out about its unique features and the best way to construct your search

Some search tools allow the use of Boolean operators (and, or, not), nesting, and truncation

Use advanced search functions where available to make your search more specific

 

More tips

 

Use search engines for finding specific information using uncommon words or if you wish to search a large number of web sites

Use subject directories for finding reviewed sites or if you want to browse resources by category

Use Google Scholar to filter out commercial web sites

Use the KU Libraries’ Information Gateway if you want web sites reviewed by library subject specialists

Try several search tools for wider coverage

 

 

Name of search tool

Type of search

1.      Name:

 

Type of search tool:

q       Search engine

q       Subject directory

q       Web sites on the Information Gateway

 

2.      Name:

 

Type of search tool:

q       Search engine

q       Subject directory

q       Web sites on the Information Gateway

 

3.      Name:

 

Type of search tool:

q       Search engine

q       Subject directory

q       Web sites on the Information Gateway

 

 

Please consider

 

Too little information?

Try another type of search tool

Try different search terms

Think about different ways to approach the topic

 

Too much information?

Try limiting by language, date, or other options offered by the search tool

Try adding more words to the search terms

Try using more specific terms

Internet search notes

 

 

Experts

 

Tips

 

Use experts as additional sources of information

 

Prepare by thoroughly researching the topic beforehand

 

 

List people who are experts in this area and their contact info.