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ARCH 311 Architectural and Planning Theories, Spring 2019

Resources chosen by your friends in the library to help with the research for your essays

Some Search Tips and Techniques

It is often helpful to start with a brief overview of scholarship.  This type of summary, often found in a specialized encyclopedia, can help you focus on what part of a topic most interests you and it can point to readings that are generally considered important.  Unfortunately, these types of scholarly summaries are less common in the design literature.  But these are especially helpful for the non-design aspects of a research problem.  So check the tab in this document “Education Sources.”

After having some targets for your topic it is often time-efficient to start with LionSearch and after gathering some sources there moving on to more specialized sources.

In any system it is often good to start with simple searches and to adapt to more complex search strategies after having become familiar with the language used in the source you are searching.  Here are some techniques that improve search results in most systems:

Truncation = Chop off a word to get multiple endings

                  Usually an asterisk (*) sometimes other symbols

                  design* = design, designed, designer, designers, designing, designs

Phrase = Match words only if in this sequence.

                  Usually quotes (“ “) but sometimes other symbols

                  “elementary schools”

Boolean AND = Prefer if both terms are present.

                  “elementary schools” AND facilities            

Boolean OR = Give equal preference to both terms. (Good for synonymns.)

                  facilities OR buildings OR architecture

Field Specifiers = Limit a term to one part of the database record (author, subject, etc.)

                  See, for example, the Advanced LionSearch screen.     

Grouping Terms = Execute these combinations first.

                  Usually parentheses ().

                  “elementary schools” AND (facilities OR buildings OR architecture)