English 92 - Research Help: Search Tips

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Carrie Consalvi's picture
Carrie Consalvi
Mt. San Jacinto College
Menifee Valley Campus
28237 La Piedra Road
Menifee, CA 92584

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Getting Started with Reading and Research

Critical Reading Tutorials

Critical Reading Tutorials

Helpful Links for Library Books

Writing Commons Critical Reading Textbook
A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students learning how to read critically and actively. 

Thinking Intensive Reading 
Research has shown that students who read deliberately retain more information and retain it longer. These habits will get you there. 

Critical Reading Guide
This website gives information, infographics, and videos on the basics of reading for research. 

Reading Difficult Scholarly Sources
Do scholarly sources seem dry, boring, and difficult? This pdf will outline strategies to make them easier to read. 

How to (seriously) read a scientific paper​ 
Reading scientific papers becomes easier with experience, but the stumbling blocks are real. Take a look at these top tips to help you read your research.

CRAAP Test Worksheet
Need help evaluating sources? This worksheet helps you ask the right questions to find reputable, credible sources.

Successful Searching Q & A

 How do I find keywords that will help me the most?

Try getting some background information about your topic first by using CQ Researcher or an online/print encyclopedia. As you read through a broad overview of your topic, start making a list of the words that are used. Sometimes you'll run across other search terms that you may not have thought of otherwise.

An example:

  • hydrogen car*
  • hydrogen automobile*
  • fuel-cell technolog*
  • fuel-cell*
  • renewable fuel*
  • alternative energy and (car* or automobile*)


 What do you think is the best way to weed through results about your topic and narrow it down to the best ten?

There are some standard ways to narrow down results. You can specify a time-frame (only the last few years, or a specific date range). You can narrow results to a specific location (United States, California, etc.). Sometimes the databases build in ways to narrow your results. For example, in Academic Search Premier, you can look at the left-hand column for a variety of ways to refine your results...by the type of publication, a subject area, etc. Often times if you perform a "Subject" search, you will get fewer, and more precise results as well.

Always keep in mind that the number of results is not the true measure of research success. You want to find the right mix of articles that address the key issues you are trying to write about. Also, the currency of the information you find is important.

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