Preparing search terms for searching at the library visit
When we visit the library next week, you will be taught how to look for sources, and you will each be given the opportunity to spend some time looking for sources for your topic. To be properly prepared for the library visit, you should have a clearly defined general topic, and you should have some search terms ready to help locate those sources.
Today’s in-class activities are designed to help you find the best terms to use for a search on your topic. Spend 10-15 minutes listing as many possible words and phrases that someone could possibly associate with your topic. Be sure to think of synonyms, technical terms and common terms. List each word separately with enough space around it to cut each word out. Write a full sentence describing your topic and what interests you about it. Cut out each of the words from the list and all the major words from the sentence you wrote. Once you have cut each word out, gather in groups of three to begin sorting through your pile of terms.
Make three columns on a sheet of paper: “phrases that will lead to more general searches,” “phrases that will lead to narrower searches” and “phrases that might lead to dead ends.” With the help of your group mix the terms together to produce potential word combinations (some of these should be deliberately chosen, and others can be randomly generated by shuffling the words) and add each combination to the one of the three lists. Discuss with the others in the group why you think each phrase belongs in one of the categories. Be prepared to defend your choices as the instructor makes her way around the room. Finally, rank the terms based on the degree to which you think each will be helpful.
Download: Pre-draft assignment 3 (doc)