CTAC 124 - Informative and Persuasive Speeches (Denja)

Consider Using Two Different Types of Search Tools

  • Traditional Academic Databases

    Many traditional academic databases are put together by organizations that actually pay people (indexers) to review each item placed in the database and then assign to each item a few descriptive subject terms to characterize the topics discussed in the item. The subject terms the indexers apply are taken from a subject thesaurus that these database producers develop over time.

    When searching traditional academic databases, start your search with the language that you know to describe your topic. Review the first few items on the result list that seem to be 'on topic.' In particular, look in the subject field of the item records to find the 'official' database thesaurus terms that are used to describe your subject. Then, rerun your search again using both your original terms as well as the thesaurus terms you found in the relevant records. You do not have to be constantly on the alert for variant vocabulary to express your subject.

    •      Single Discipline Examples:
      Psychology: PsycINFO
      Education: ERIC
      Nursing & Allied Health: CINAHL
    • Cross-Search 22 Academic/Disciplinary Databases:
    • Cross-Search 25 Academic/Disciplinary Databases:
      EBSCO PowerSearch
    • Search using structured vocabulary (thesaurus)          
  • Discovery Databases
    When using so called 'discovery databases' such as Google Scholar or EMU's Esearch, you should always be on the lookout for different synonyms used in the items in the database. There is no 'standard' thesaurus vocabulary as found in many traditional academic databases. You need to ferret out whatever language or terminology the authors of the database items use to describe the subject you are investigating.
    • Examples:
      EMU's Esearch 
      Google Scholar
    • Search by whatever language/terminology is used by item authors

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Sara Memmott
Summer 2021: I will be working June 23 - August 11. Before those dates, I will be checking email regularly, smemmott@emich.edu
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