Basic Research

Tim Miller · twm2 · 707.826.4959 · Library 02 (Lower Level)

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Briefly introduce yourself:

What do YOU want to learn today?

What frustrates YOU about research?



  • choosing a topic
  • thinking of keywords
  • searching in databases
    • search operators
    • filters
    • subject headings
    • saving your work
  • citations

Sample Assignment

Write a 3-5 page essay about a current issue relevant to the profession using a minimum of three (3) articles. At least one (1) must be a peer-reviewed journal article. All articles should be current- published in the last five (5) years. Include a statement of why the issue is relevant, provide the evidence, and conclude with some recommendations on how to best deal with the issue. The paper should be written following APA style guidelines and include a reference list of your cited articles.

Topic Basic Requirements Purpose of the articles Citation & Styles

Developing Your Topic

Choose something interesting!

Topic: racism in sports mascots

What do you know?

  • Current issues with Native American movements.
  • Past issues, how they were resolved?

Develop Your Topic

Keywords from my topic

  • mascot, sports mascot
  • racism, race
  • stereotypes, offensive stereotypes
  • Native American
  • Washington R*skins

Start broad and narrow down

  • mascot AND racism - simple, easy to add terms later

Boolean Search Operators

Subject Headings

Similar to hashtags

Curated by specialists

Assigned to the article when it is added to the database

Encapsulates a concept, not just a specific word

Research Secrets

There are no magic tricks

Research requires time & patience

Try different things

there is no one search that will uncover everything that you're looking for- you will need to repeat, repeat, repeat

Let's Try It Out

Search Features

Screen shot of Ebsco search boxes

Try it Out

  1. Open SPORTDiscus
  2. Enter two search terms using AND
    • e.g. sports mascots AND racism
  3. Look at your results:
    • Too many? Add another term using AND
      • e.g. sports mascots AND racism AND Native Americans
    • Too few? Add a synonym using OR
      • e.g. (sports OR school) AND mascot AND racism
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