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COMM 101 Stratton: Quick search concepts

Database searching

Communication and Mass Media Complete is a research database, specific to the field of Communication studies, that uses search commands called Boolean Operators. These operators help the database to know what and how to locate the best results.

Most of this is built into the database search interface, but this explanation may help you better manipulate your keywords when searching.

Quick search concepts

Most search engines recognize the use of Boolean Operators AND, OR, and NOT.

Placing AND between keywords or phrases tells the search engine you'd like sources concerning an overlapping topic.

"I'd like to find articles about when the city of Detroit went bankrupt."

Inserting OR between two terms tells the search engine you'd accept a source about one topic, but you'd also accept sources that refer to it in another way. Synonyms can be helpful here.

"I'll accept articles about software engineers OR, I'll also accept articles that may instead use the keyword 'programmers.'"

Placing NOT between key concepts tells the search engine you'll accept sources on one but not the other. 

"I want articles about the auto industry, but I'm tired of being flooded with articles about the auto industry in Michigan. Show me articles about the auto industry but NOT in Michigan."


Identify the 3 key concepts in this research question: "How do ocean temperatures influence the migration patterns of great white sharks?"
ocean temperatures, influence, great white sharks: 4 votes (7.55%)
ocean temperatures, migration patterns, great white sharks: 37 votes (69.81%)
influence, migration patterns, great white sharks: 9 votes (16.98%)
how do, influence: 3 votes (5.66%)
Total Votes: 53