These are just a few things to look for when deciding if an article fulfulls the requirements of the assignment.
I have created a handout that provides greater explanation of four kinds of searching options for distribution in class.
1. Simple word strings. I call this building block searching.
2. Boolean searching. This is discussed elsewhere.
3. Natural language to subject headings and sub-headings. You must use subject headings or at least be aware of them when using PubMed and Medline.
4. Citation Pearl Growing. Finding a good article or source with a current and useful bibliography may lead you to the kinds of articles you need. Note the importance of finding the primary authors who are doing research in your field.
Accomplished and skilled researchers are able to determine basic aspects of database organization using multiple strategies. Good researchers understand the usefulness of bakground information, bibliographies and are conversant with the vocabulary of the discipline. Good researchers are familiar with a wide variety of tools and use them wisely, not dependent on one specific source.
1. Start with the words that are familiar to you. If your research topic is: What does the recent literature suggest regarding managing a sport tourism program for college students in Australia some possible search terms might be:
sport management, tourism, college or university, Australia
Unlike using one search box (like a Google search) each individual keyword term (concept) is entered into one of the search boxes on the database search screen.
AND College or University
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. (Say if I wanted to exclude a particular sport I could enter NOT soccer)
But this search may not and probably will not yield the best results. There are two things you can do to make your search more precise:
First, determine additional synonyms or related terms. Often these are more specific and use the language of the profession. You can add these additional terms and join them in the same subject line. Examples: Sport Management OR Sports Administrataion OR Sports Events. Or the example shown above: College OR University.
Second, determine the "controlled" vocabulary employed by a specific database. By looking at the results list SUBJECTS you will find better terminology. In this example there is a SUBJECT term: SPORTS & tourism. I can then revise my search to look something like this:
Sports and tourism in SU
Universities and colleges in SU
Notice how the number of relevant results shrinks to a much smaller set.
--Information is from a trustworthy source.
--The author's credentials are available.
--The author or organization is a known or respected authority.
--The information is up to date, truthful, with sufficient detail.
--The audience and purpose reflects attempt to be complete and accurate.
--The author attempts fair, balanced, objective, reasoned,
--There is an absence of fallacy
--There is no apparent slant or biased tone.
--This item lists sources used and is well documented.
--Contact information is supplied,
--Information can be substantiated or corroborated; claims are supported with evidence.
CARS criteria developed by Robert Harris, Vanguard University http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm