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University of Portland Clark Library

CST 107: Effective Public Speaking (Macey): Successful Searching

Effective Searching in Library Databases

  1. Start by writing a short description of the question you want to answer in your speech, such as: Do feelings of loneliness increase or decrease during social media use?
  2. Next, identify the key concepts of your topic, and brainstorm alternate terms:
    • Loneliness:  Isolation, Alienation
    • Social Media: Social Networking

  3. Use the asterisk (*) to find different variations of search terms:
  4. lonel* will find: lonely, loneliness....

    isolat* will find: isolation, isolated....

Put it All Together

Combining search terms example: social media OR online social networks OR instagram AND lonel* OR isolat* OR alienat*

Put each concept of your search into a separate search box (this will find articles that include all of your concepts).

In each search box, enter all the terms you brainstormed for that concept. Enter OR between each search term to find articles that include any of those terms.

Search Within Websites

Some internet search engines, such as Google and DuckDuckGo, have a "site" search function that can help you locate information on a specific site. Here's how you might use it:

Let's say you wanted to see all the reports about COVID on the State Library of Oregon's "Read All About It" website.

You could search for your topic, adding site:[domain name] for the website. You can put OR between two or more sites.

Your search of the "Read All About It" site would be [ COVID], as shown in the screen capture below. | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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