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Evaluating Sources

This guide will help you recognize the different types of sources and how to evaluate them.

Catalog Search Tips

Go to SWUCat, the library's online catalog, to search for books and other materials located by the Rickman Library.

If you cannot find a book available in SWUCat, check PASCAL.  This catalog searches for books and ebooks in other South Caroline academic libraries.  This service is free for SWU students. 

 

Think Broadly. Remember to think broadly when searching for books - that is, to realize that your specific topic will probably be treated in books that cover a broader subject.

Once you find a book relevant to your topic, use the subject headings to help you find more.

Search Examples:

Keyword Searching

Keyword Search Rules for the Library Catalog and Databases


Using AND/OR/NOT (Boolean Search Operators)
AND

Use AND to focus search and combine different aspects of your topic.

Example: vegetarianism and environment

OR
 

Use OR to expand your search and find synonyms/related terms.

Example: global warming or climate change

NOT

Use NOT to exclude a word or phrase from your search

Example: emissions trading not United States

 


Additional Search Tips

"Phrase search"  - Use quotation marks" " to search for a particular phrase.

Example: "greenhouse gas emissions"

    Truncation * - Use an asterisk to find variations of a word. Put an asterisk following the root of the word to find all variations of that word, including singular and plural.

    Example: environment* (finds environments, environmental, environmentalist, etc.)

      (Grouping/Nesting Keywords) - Use parentheses ( ) as a way to group all your search terms together.

      Example: (climate change or global warming) and population growth