Journal articles are the backbone of academic research and the skills used to find them are applicable in other research activities. In this module, we're going show some practical steps for any kind of library research by finding journal articles in the Academic Search Elite database.
This is optional background information about Natural Language Searching - what most folks do when they type a string of words into Google.
One of the fundamentals of searching for information on a topic is knowing how to describe what you want. It seems simple enough to type a word into Google or the library catalog or a database - you're certain to get some results. How often have you been frustrated by finding too many results that are not quite right or results that do not quite fit. Perhaps the word you used has several different meanings - spring can be a season, a device that uses coiled or bent metal to apply force, a natural source of water, a jump or leap, a slang term for getting someone out of jail, etc. Perhaps the authors writing the information you need use other words - you might be looking for things about teenagers and not finding things about adolescents.
The trick is in thinking of ways to describe what you want and giving yourself flexibility. Think of a thing you can drive on a road that seats 1-5 passengers. How many words can you think of to describe that concept? After you've brainstormed, compare my answers to yours.
Read the following two short articles to prepare you for the activities on the following two tabs.
Having learned about some basic search techniques and primed yourself to think in terms of search concepts, move on to Part 2 - Search Terms