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MCOM 105 Research Guide: Home/Search Strategies

Resources bundled together for the convenience of MCOM 105 students

Broadcasting & Cable: Breaking News

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Practice Boolean Search Strategies

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Welcome to the FSU Ort Library Resource Guide for MCOM 105! It includes links to databases, websites, reference books,  and other information relevant to course assignments and topics.

In this guide you will find:

  • Search Tips and Strategies
  • Recommended databases for MCOM 105
  • Suggested websites
  • Some reference book links and library e-book information
  • Helpful videos, embedded search boxes and links to other sources

Developing a Search Strategy for OneSearch, the Research Databases or the Library Catalog

When searching the library research databases or the catalog, it's good to have a strategy. Unlike Google or Internet search engines, OneSearch, the databases and the catalog can't interpret natural language or strings of unconnected words. You should identify the key concepts in your thesis or research question and then brainstorm for a few alternative terms and synonyms that go along with them. Then you can connect and combine those terms in different ways using Boolean (see video in box below).

For example, what if you were researching the question:

What are the effects of violence in the media on children?

The key concepts are obviously the words I underlined:

violence media children

 It's good to have a few synonyms and related terms for your key concepts. They may also be helpful in your search!

violence: media: children:
aggression, bullying, crime, media violence, etc.
television, movies, social media, video games, etc. kids, youth, juveniles, adolescents, etc.

Now I can develop either a basic search statement:

violence AND media AND children

Or a more advanced search statement, throwing in some related terms and synonyms:

(violence OR aggression) AND media  AND (children OR kids)


Find out why I combined terms with AND and OR in the video below (capitalization and bold type just for emphasis)!

Boolean: Combining Keywords

This YouTube video from the University of Auckland, New Zealand demonstrates how to combine search keywords using the Boolean AND, OR, and NOT. It also shows you how to apply Boolean searching in a variety of database and catalog search screens.

Subject Guide

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Sean Henry
Lewis J. Ort Library
Frostburg State University
Frostburg, MD 21532

Mass Communication Department