Monday, October 13, 2014

Learn to Speak the Language of Your Database!

Have you ever tried to convey a message to someone who does not speak the same language as you?  How well did that go?  Did you have to use body language?

Using a database or a database search tool (such as Discovery or Proquest) requires that you communicate with it in a language that it understands otherwise you might not get the results you are looking for, especially since you can’t resort to body language to make the database understand! can you learn to speak the language of your 

database search tool? 

 First, don't use the database or database search tool like you use Google! You can’t use sentences or questions and get usable results. Here's a sample research question: What's the differences between IFRS and FASB? (These are different styles of accounting practices, for you non-accounting majors.) 

     Let’s see what happens if we treat the database search tool as if it were Google and simply enter this question:
     This came up with NO RESULTS at all!  Let's figure out a better way to search using a database or a database search tool!!  

                     So....let's speak the language of our database search tool!

     Begin by writing out your research question, then looking closely to determine the key concepts. Looking for the nouns might help you find those key concepts.

Look at example 1: 
We want to know the main differences between IFRS and FASB.   
Look for the key concepts which are: 1) IFRS, 2) FASB, and 3) differences.

Try entering a single key concept into separate boxes in our database search tool, Discovery.

This search gives us 135 results! Look through the list to find the items that meet your needs. In order to come up with additional items, try coming up with different words that mean close to the same thing.

             So...let's try other ways we speak to the database search tool! 

Example 2: 
Finding the differences might involve comparing IFRS and FASB. 
 Our new research question becomes: I want to compare IFRS and FASB. 
What are the key concepts here? 1) IFRS, 2) FASB, and 3) comparison.

Think about the key concept "comparison" with the root word "compare".  If we do a root word search, results such as "compare", "comparison", "comparability", etc. will show up.  To execute this search we can add an asterisk at the end of the root word, which would look like this: compar*.
Let's try entering our key concepts into our database search tool, Discovery.
This search strategy results in 157 hits.  Looking through these results may give you additional items to use in your research.

Now you have begun to learn to speak the language of a 

database search tool!

 For more information about creating searches, go to the library home page and find "Research Help", then go to "Research Strategies".  Look down the page to locate the hyperlink: Create Effective Searches.  Clicking on this hyperlink here will open up a short power point lesson on other search strategies.

Good luck learning to speak the language of 

databases and database search tools!

No comments: