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  • Library AND Information Service

School of Accountancy: Searching for sources

Effective Searching

Databases contains articles with information that will guide you to the answers you seek. Instead of searching with questions on databases, you have to search for information using KEYWORDS.

When extracting KEYWORDS from your assignment or essay, you need to look at the key concepts that encapsulate your assignment.

Example:

Is it true that economic growth makes the rich richer and the poor poorer?

KEYWORDS:

  • Economic growth
  • Inequality OR income inequality

Note: The concepts that you are looking for are not always expressed in the
language of the assignment or question, but often through other related terms.

See the Guide for step-by-step instructions.

AND – returns results with both keywords. AND usually limits the search results
OR – returns results with one or the other keyword.It broadens your results by connecting two or more synonyms.
NOT – returns results excluding specific keywords

Use the Boolean Machine for visualizing the effects of Boolean operators .

More tips:

Quotation Marks “ ” – keep keywords together, for exact phrase searching
Brackets ( ) – keep concepts together, used for synonyms

Example:

("green energy" OR "sustainable energy" OR "renewable energy") AND (logistics OR "supply chain")

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Use the "Search strategy builder" to help you create a search string, using Boolean logic. You can cut and paste the results into most databases’ search boxes.

 

Building blocks Search strategy
Identify keywords, write next to each other
Think of synonyms or alternatives for these words
Write these words under the corresponding keywords in blocks

Example
Find articles about the tax treatment and regulations of cryptocurrencies
Tax                       cryptocurrency                      Regulation
levy                       virtual currency                    rules
tariff                      bitcoin                                   policy
fee                        digital currency                    act
rate                       peercoin                             

Combine rows with AND and columns with OR operators.
Search string: (tax OR levy OR tariff OR fee OR rate) AND (cryptocurrency OR "virtual currency" OR bitcoin OR "digital currency" OR peercoin) AND (regulation OR rules OR policy OR act)

 

Quick-and-easy” search method

Steps:

1. What would be the title of your search?
2. Identify the main keywords
3. Which keyword is most vital (and which next)?
4. think about some proper search terms (other than those words jotted down already, synonyms, related terms, scientific names etc.)

5. Compose a simple query using a few important terms linked by ‘AND’ or ‘OR’ operators

Use quotation marks “…” for adjacent words or two or more words that make up a single concept (e.g. “attention deficit disorder”). Group synonyms and related terms together in brackets

5. The search engine or database will give lists of records. Reduce the number of records displayed and increase relevancy by restricting them according to publication date, etc.

My example:

The impact of genetically modified foods on our lives

Search terms: genetically modified food, GM food, transgenic food, food safety, food risks, allergic reactions, health

 Search string: (“genetically modified food” OR “GM food” OR “transgenic food) AND (food safety OR food risks OR allergic reactions OR health)

Search example

Discuss the risks that the array of new technologies can pose and the associated governance dilemmas

Keywords:
Search String:

Google & Google Scholar

What is a Library Links preference on Google Scholar and how can I do it from home?

A Library Links preference allows you set your preferred Library Choice in Google Scholar. It will then automatically detect when an article is freely available via any of the electronic platforms that Stellenbosch University Library subscribes to. Use the guide below to change your Google Scholar settings on your own computer.

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*Google puts an AND between spaces

*Case does not matter - except for operators (AND/OR/NOT)Can use + (AND) or - (NOT)

*Word order matters, Google ranks results according to the order you search in

*Google ignores punctuation

 
Search specific domains:
intitle:
inurl:
Search specific files or results:

     filetype:

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a web address for a page or document on the World Wide Web. We can make some educated guesses about the reliability of a web site if we know a little about URLs. 

Each URL (for example http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/internships), consists of an access protocol (http), a domain name (www.whitehouse.gov), and an optional path to a file or resource residing on that server (about/internships).

The domain name indicates the organization responsible for the site (www.whitehouse.gov in the example above). The top-level domain indicates the type of site (gov in the example above).

The most common top-level domains and the type of site they indicate are:

  • com     commercial business or for-profit organizations
  • co.za   commercial South Africa
  • gov      United States government agencies
  • gov.za   government South Africa
  • edu      educational institutions
  • ac        academic institutions
  • mil       United States military organizations
  • org       non-profit organizations

In general, .gov and .edu web sites are more reliable than .com web sites.