Library databases and Google can't be searched the same way so take a few moments to come up with a search strategy before diving into a database.
Step 1: Think about the key concepts of your topic and search those instead of an entire phrases or sentences.
Step 2: Think of other terms you could use that are synonyms or related (they could be a broader or narrower aspect). This often requires that you do a little background research to learn more.
Step 3: Connect your terms using AND and OR:
Even if your topic is not directly covered, you can often find important information and context about your topic. For example, if you are researching a Confederate monument on campus, research about the history of Confederate monuments in the US would be important even though it may not mention UT or even the particular person the monument memorializes.
Consider the audience, purpose and author of your source when you are deciding if or how to use it.
1. Author: Who wrote it? What is their expertise to write about the topic? What bias or leanings do they have and how does that impact the source?
2. Audience: What audience is this source designed to address? How does the audience impact the purpose of the source and type of evidence used to support the argument?
3. Purpose: What is the purpose of the source? Is it intended to persuade, influence and/or inform? How, if at all, does the purpose affect the credibility?
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