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Search strategies and suggested library resources for your annotated bibliography
Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015 URL: Print Guide

Getting Started Print Page

Starting Your Research

You'll be doing original research for your topic in the local setting.  The library can help you find resources about the issues in general, local news coverage, or help you discover a methodology by reviewing other people's research.

There are number of search strategies and tips that will help you create more effective searches:

Using AND retrieves results with all of the words included and will narrow your search:
Ex. recreation AND environment

Using OR retrieves results with any of the words included and will expand your search:
Ex. mapping OR GIS

Using quotation marks will create a phrase search for those exact words in that order:
"geographic information systems"
"spatial analysis"

Using an asterisk (*) will expand a search to retrieve all forms of a root word:
environment* - searches for environment, environmental, environmentally, environmentalist, etc.

Using parentheses () will group words together to show the order in which AND/OR operators should be applied:
(mapping OR GIS) AND (trails OR greenways)

Try using these strategies as you search for articles in the following library resources:

  • Academic Search Complete
    Includes articles on a wide range of topics and in a variety publications. Use your search strategies to find articles on your topic.
  • America's News [NewsBank]
    Includes The State and other SC newspapers. Use Shortcuts on the left to search just SC papers.
  • Social Sciences Full Text
    Another option to search for articles in the Social Sciences
  • ScienceDirect
    Only those journals to which USC-Columbia subscribes are available full text. Strongest coverage in the sciences, but includes some business, humanities and social science journals.
  • GreenFILE
    Articles in this database focus on the relationship between human beings and the environment.
  • Hospitality and Tourism Complete
    For topics that relate to tourism or the restaurant industry, in particular
  • Web of Science
    Includes citations to articles in Geography and other Social Sciences


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Kathy Snediker
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Thomas Cooper Library
University of South Carolina
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