Seminar on Armed Conflict and International Humanitarian Law

Course Number: GS400/RE650A

Subject: Global Studies, Religion and Culture

A substantive portion of the presentation given in class is embedded in the slides below. You can advance the presentation using the bar or the arrow below the presentation.

Constructing a search strategy and "search string"

Most databases:

  • Use connectors (Boolean operators) to combine terms Watch our video Better Searching using AND, OR NOT
    • AND = use between search terms to retrieve ALL the words in each record
      • e.g. Park AND planning
    • OR = use to search related terms/synonyms on the same topic
      • e.g. Park OR "Protected area"
    • NOT = excludes words or phrases, but should be used judiciously
      • e.g. Park NOT Disne
    • " " = phrase search, exact words in a particular order
    • * = truncation, searches for different forms of a word (variant spellings)
      • e.g. farm* = farm, farms, farmed, farming
      • e.g. colo*r = color, colour
    • ? = wildcard, searches for variant spellings of one letter,
      • e.g. glacier? = glacier, glaciers
    • Most databases have good "Help" resources on Boolean/Advanced searching; good to check these out before you start; they have advanced features not discussed in detail in class

Keywords vs. Subject Headings

  • Keyword searches - database will search in Abstracts or Keyword fields for terms
  • Subject headings - used in Omni, ProQuest, EBSCO; specific and added by indexers or cataloguers; precise
    • Example: Omni uses Library of Congress Subject Headings
      • Climatic Changes

NOTE: most databases are case insensitive when using boolean operators; Omni is not; need to type AND OR and NOT in ALL CAPS.