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University of Portland Clark Library

CST 107: Public Speaking for Change: Successful Searching

Intro to Search Strategy

  1. Start by writing a short description of the question you want to answer through your database search, 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. Put an asterisk (*) in the right spot to find all endings:
  4. lonel* will find lonely, loneliness....

    isolat* will find isolation, isolated....

  5. In many databases you can put phrases in quotes:

    "social media"

Plug the Search into the Database

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.

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