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International Studies

This guide will help you locate information about global interests and affairs.

Research Strategies: Boolean

1. Start with the words that are familiar to you. If your research topic is: What do I need to know about travel to Swaziland your possible beginning search terms might be:



Each of these terms is entered into a separate search box on the database search screen.

AND   Swaziland
AND   Tourist Attractions

But this search may not and probably will not yield the most useful or comprehensive results. You can make your search more precise: determine and add additional synonyms or related terms. Often these are more specific and use the language of the profession. You can add related additional terms by joining them in the same subject line.

Travel OR Tourism OR Travel--Safety measures OR Business travel OR Air travel OR Voyages

Swaziland OR Southern Africa OR Manzini OR Mbabane

You should know that there are three Boolean operators:

AND--each of the words or terms must be in the record, AND reduces the number of results.

OR--increases the size of the set you are searching.

NOT--excludes a particular word or concept from the search. 



CARS: How to Evaluate Information

Here is an easy way to remember what to look for when evaluating the information that you find. These questions will help you assess what you might find most useful.

CARS: Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support


Credibility. Is this source trustworthy? What are the author’s credentials? Is he or she known or a respected authority on this topic?  Is there evidence of quality control?   Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.

Accuracy. Is the informatio up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive? What is the intended audience and purpose? Does it reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.

Reasonableness.  Is the presentation fair, balanced, objective, reasoned? Can you find that the author has no conflict of interest? Is there an absence of fallacies or slanted tone. Goal: a source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.

Support:  Does this information provide background sources or references? Is there contact information for the author? Are claims supported, documentated and corroborated?. Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (that is are you able to find at least two other sources (non web) that support it). 

taken from Virtual Salt. Robert Harris