CTAC 124 - Informative and Persuasive Speeches (Denja)

Discovery Database Example: EMU's Esearch, Google Scholar

  • The items in discovery databases are NOT individually examined by humans and no standard vocabulary is applied to describe the contents of the database
  • When searching discovery databases, you are responsible for being alert and attentive to the vocabulary used by others to describe the topics you are investigating
  • Your search strategy--
    If you started by searching in a traditional academic database, make a list of the database subject vocabulary used to describe your topic, as well as any other synonymous words/phrases you saw being used by the authors of the items in the database results list


Articulate the subject you want to investigate:

Is academic performance impacted for commuter students?

Identify the words/phrases that constitute the main topics:

Is academic performance impacted for commuter students?



If the discovery database offers an Advanced search screen similar to those found in traditional academic databases, as does EMU's Esearch, use that screen to enter your search as you would in a traditional academic database. [NOTE 1: Esearch requires that the OR connector used to separate synonyms in the same search box must be capitalized; NOTE 2: You can use the asterisk (*) for truncation, i.e., religious* would search for any word beginning with that root, including both religious as well as religiousness.]

If you use a discovery database basic single search box, such as in Google Scholar or Google, follow a different search-term entry strategy: pick one word or phrase for EACH of your main topics and type them into the single search box of the discovery tool, one following the other, without any additional punctuation (however, put quotes around multi-word phrases, as below):

“academic performance” “commuter students”

If you found enough material to answer your question, you are done

If you did not find enough, replace one topical word/phrase at a time in the search box and review the result list after each change:

“academic performance” “commuting students”
“academic achievement” “commuter students”
“academic achievement” “commuting students”
“grade point average” “commuter students”
“grade point average” “commuting students”

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Sara Memmott
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