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TRUNCATION AND WILD CARD SYMBOLS

Use to: widen your search and ensure that you don't miss relevant records

Most databases are not intelligent - they just search for exactly what you type in. Truncation and wild card symbols enable you to overcome this limitation. These symbols can be substituted for letters to retrieve variant spellings and word endings.

a wild card symbol replaces a single letter - useful to retrieve alternative spellings and simple plurals

eg wom?n will find woman or women
a truncation symbol retrieves any number of letters - useful to find different word endings based on the root of a word

eg africa* will find africa, african, africans, africaans
eg agricultur* will find agriculture, agricultural, agriculturalist
Important hint! Check the online help screens for details of the symbols recognised by the database you are searching - not all databases use the ? and * symbols.

SEARCH OPERATORS

Use to: combine your search words and include synonym

Also known as Boolean operators, search operators allow you to include multiple words and concepts in your searches. The shaded areas on the diagrams below indicate the records retrieved using each operator.

AND retrieves records containing both words. Boolean AND search operator
In this example the shaded area contains records with both women and africa in the text.
It narrows your search.

Some databases automatically connect keywords with and.

OR retrieves records containing either word. Boolean OR search operator
In this example the shaded area contains records with women, or gender, or both words in the text.
It broadens your search.
You can use this to include synonyms in your search.

NOT retrieves your first word but excludes the second. Boolean NOT search operator
In this example the shaded area indicates that only records containing just Africa will be retrieved (not those with both Africa and Asia)
Beware! By using this operator you might exclude relevant results because you will lose those records which include both words. 

CREATING SEARCH STATEMENTS

Use to: combine multiple search words

On most databases you can type in a search statement, which involves combining your search words using search operators. When creating a search statement you must use brackets to ensure correct processing of the search.

Words representing the same concept should be bracketed and linked with OR
eg (women or gender)
Groups of bracketed terms can then be linked with AND or NOT
This is an example search statement bringing together all the techniques described above:

(wom?n or gender) and agricultur* and africa*

Searches enclosed within brackets will be performed first and their results combined with the other searches.

This is how the search would look when entered into the CAB Abstracts database 

Example search in the CAB databasePHRASE AND PROXIMITY SEARCHING

Phrase searching

Use to: make your search more specific

Phrase searching is a useful technique which can increase the relevance of your results. Sometimes your search may comprise common words which, when combined in an AND search, retrieve too many irrelevant records. Databases use different techniques to specify phrase searching - check the online help.

Some web search engines and databases allow you to specify a phrase using inverted commas.
eg "agricultural development"
eg "foot and mouth"

Hint! Some databases automatically perform a phrase search if you do not use any search operators eg agriculture africa is not a phrase used in English so you may not find any items on the subject. Use AND in between your search words to avoid this.

Proximity searching
Use to: make a search more specific and exclude irrelevant records

Some databases use 'proximity operators'. These enable you to specify how near one word must be to another and, in some cases, in what order. This makes a search more specific and excludes irrelevant records. For instance, if you were searching for references about women in Africa, you might retrieve irrelevant records for items about women published in Africa. Performing a proximity search will only retrieve the two words in the same sentence, and so exclude those irrelevant records.

Databases which have this facility vary considerably in their methods
eg: Web of Science - women same africa - retrieves records where the two words appear in the same sentence.

Hint! Check the online help for details of proximity operators recognised by the database you are searching.

ADVANCED SEARCH FEATURES

Many databases offer other more advanced features which you can use to refine your searches further. These techniques include:

Search sets

Your results are displayed as "sets", which can be combined with other searches or new words.

Field-specific searching

Most database records are made up of different fields (eg author, title etc.). Field-specific searching allows you to select a particular field in which to search, rather than performing a keyword search across all fields. Some databases allow you to type words into specific search boxes, whereas in others you will need to type in the field name or its code.

Hint! Check help screens for field names or codes, and other hints on searching specific fields.

Searching using indexes

It is possible to search some databases using indexes, which are usually alphabetical lists of authors or subjects. They allow you to refine your search using the correct form of names or terms as defined on that particular database.

Hint! Not all databases allow searching using indexes. Check the online help on a particular database for more information.

 Example of the limits available in the CAB Abstracts database

 Many databases allow you to limit your search in various ways. Limits are usually available on advanced search screens, or you can apply them after doing your keyword search. An example of the search limits from the CAB Abstracts database is shown on the left.

Check the help pages on the database you are using for detailed instructions on applying these limits.Examples of the types of limits you can apply include:

by date

by language

by publication type (eg journal articles, chapters in books, review articles that provide detailed summaries of research, book reviews) 

Source:  https://www.reading.ac.uk/library/finding-info/guides/databases/lib-searching-databases-search-techniques.aspx

Categorized in Search Techniques

Jordan Koene is a SEJ Summit veteran, having spoke at a few of our search marketing conferences last year. This year, we’re happy to have him at SEJ Summit Chicago, speaking on how to improve search visibility.

Jordan’s insights below are always enlightening and cover everything from moving past a plateau to how e-commerce SEO is different from other channels.

Your SEJ Summit presentation is titled Surviving the Search Plateau: 3 Tactics to Bring Your Website’s SEO Visibility to New Heights. How do you determine if you are in an SEO plateau? What signs would you look for?

You’ve plateaued if you reach a period where, despite your efforts, you’ve been unable to affect positive change on your site – usually quarterly for most businesses. It usually presents itself either in slow downs in site traffic or declines in conversion rates. Traffic is the more obvious metric, since most SEO teams are measured by it, but there are times you may see an increase in clicks that don’t reflect in your total conversions. That bears investigating.

One of the examples you give for breaking free from the plateau is by igniting your content. Does that mean blending content marketing into your SEO strategy?

That can be a piece of it, though that can take a lot of time and money. From a search perspective, the low-hanging fruit is to simply refresh the content you already have with new material, or by making minor changes. Like layering a cake, you can build on top of your old content with structured data or info to create something interesting and new. Minor changes can bring big rewards.

I did a little bit of stalking and saw you are interested in wearable technology. What is your favorite wearable piece of tech—either already on the market or coming soon?

Personally, I’m really interested in the Internet of Things – items within the home like Nest or Ring that are beginning to talk to each other and to you. Similar to how 3-4 years ago, when wearables for fitness like Fitbit started to provide us with data around our health and well-being to aid self improvement, we’re now starting to see that same thought process transition into devices for the home, helping make utilitarian improvements to the way we live., These kinds of futuristic gadgets can solve a lot of problems for our world like reducing consumption of fossil fuels and other things that have a direct impact on our environment.

You have a background in e-commerce, having worked for eBay in the past. How does SEO differ for big e-commerce brands versus, say, a service based brand.

E-commerce has this mentality of short-term gains: everything is about making short-term progress in a competitive ecosystem, especially here in the US. For that reason, a good deal of the decision making is relatively short-sighted, and you might not see them invest in long-term plays like you would for a news or media outlet. Service-based companies are more focused on having an online to offline presence since they essentially evolved from the big directory business.

A lot of service companies are moving into a transactional service model to marry in e-commerce behaviors, like Yelp, which now offers a bidding service for consumers looking to nail down a service for a particular price. In that way, they’re becoming more similar as more companies adopt that model.

Bonus Question: What was the last book you read?

I’m currently starting Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. I’ve been interested in selling in an era where e-commerce didn’t exist, and was looking for parallels into how shopping is changing today. People like Phil Knight are pioneers who broke down lots of barriers in the market to rise to success, but it’s interesting to dig into how much of his success was based on societal changes at the time – and how societal changes today might reflect market changes to come. 

Categorized in Online Research

Department store magnate John Wanamaker once said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.” Wanamaker’s conundrum vexes marketers to this day. With the exception of direct marketing, the relationship between message and consumer behavior is still maddeningly elusive.

A big problem is that conventional research tools are ill-suited to assess the impact of marketing investment on behavior, mainly because it’s nearly impossible to track all the steps from the moment someone sees an ad to the moment when they make a purchase. As a result, market researchers have had to settle for metrics like awareness and attitudes – essentially asking actual and potential customers about how they feel about a given product or advertisement–which aren’t necessarily predictive of behavior. Just because someone thinks a BMW is the best car out there doesn’t mean she’s going to buy one. On the flip side, just because someone has a low opinion of his home insurance company doesn’t mean he’s going to make the effort to switch.

While I can’t solve Wanamaker’s conundrum, I can help you make smarter decisions about how to spend your precious research dollars. Start by asking yourself the following five questions:

1. Can the question you are asking be answered by a given research methodology? Most marketers conduct research with the intent of evaluating whether or not their campaign will “work.” Often that means measuring how much of what people saw they actually understood or could recall. What they’d really like to know is whether messaging and media will translate into action–not at all the same thing.

2. Just because you can research it, is it worth finding out? It might be nice to know that the number of people who think of your financial services company as “intelligent” has increased 8.7% year over year. Then again, what if there’s no measurable link between perception of intelligence and the decision to invest in a variable annuity? When it comes to your research budget, “nice to know” is not enough.

3. Is qualitative research yielding actionable insight? Qualitative research methods such as focus groups are best suited to generating interesting ideas, not hard conclusions. A show of hands of, say, eight people around a table has a precise statistical value: zero. And yet, by the time the focus-group moderator (who, after all, wants to be hired for future projects) submits his report, there is ample talk of “most people say this” or “few people feel that.” More noise.

4. Why research when you can track instead? If John Wanamaker could have lunch with someone from our time, Sandeep Dadlani from Infosys would be near the top of his list. Dadlani is the head of the Americas business of Infosys, an information-technology services firm headquartered in Bangalore, India. Dadlani says he aims to make his customers “real-world aware.” To do that, his consultants will wire, say, a grocery store with an  invisible wireless sensor network and smart applications that run on them, allowing managers to track traffic in various parts of the store. Are shoppers stopping by an in-store display for a cough syrup? How long? Is the shelf in-stock at that moment? Are they evaluating the offer? How many of them convert and buy? The network also is designed to allow shoppers to sign up to use their mobile phones to browse the store for items in their shopping lists, recipes, coupons,etc. based on their interests and locations in the store.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcbabej/2014/07/10/four-ways-to-make-market-research-pay/#1908cb734393

 

Categorized in Market Research

 

Using search engines effectively is now a key skill for researchers, but could more be done to equip young researchers with the tools they need. Here, Dr Neil Jacobs and Rachel Bruce from Jisc’s digital infrastructure team share their top ten resources for researchers from across the web.

Every click of the mouse, every search box, needs to work hard to make the best use of a researcher’s time.

For each gem of a resource that a researcher discovers, there may be a dozen abandoned web pages, armies of half-read abstracts and false leads. Knowing how, and where, to search for resources is vital for saving time and getting quickly to the results that matter. 

One of the best ways to increase your hit-rate is by going beyond Google to a specific academic search engine or database.

Here, we outline the top search engines and resources that work hard for researchers to help them get the figures, answers and arguments they need.

Scientific queries

WolframAlpha

What is it? A so-called ‘answer engine’, the service answers queries directly based on the search terms rather than providing a list of results.

Key features: Search for information about domain names and compare websites. It also has various maths and statistics functions.

Neil says:

“WolframAlpha is probably the most innovative of the answer engines. It attempts to answer free-text questions or provide information about things rather than supply a list of web sites tagged as connected with a subject.”

Open access search engines

CORE

What is it? An experimental service, allowing keyword and semantic search of over 10 million open access articles.

Key feature: If you find an article you like, CORE will find similar ones by analysing the text of that article.

BASE

What is it? BASE is one of the world's most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources from over 2,000 sources.

Key features: Allows you to search intellectually selected resources and their bibliographic data, including those from the so-called ‘deep web’, which are ignored by commercial search engines. There are several options for sorting the results list and you can browse by Dewey Decimal Classification and document type.

Neil explains:

“BASE is bigger than CORE, but the discovery tools are not as advanced.”

Library catalogues

Copac

What is it? A Jisc service allowing you to look through the catalogues of over 70 major UK and Irish libraries.

Key features: Good for locating books and other material held in research collections in the UK; especially useful for humanities.

Rachel explains:

“It gets over 13 million searches a year from higher and further education, so it is a very well used service.”

Web Scale Discovery services

What is it? Many university libraries have one of these services working behind the scenes, they index a vast range of academic resources and provide sophisticated search tools.

Key features: The search includes journal articles, e-books, reviews, legal documents and more that are harvested from primary and secondary publishers, aggregators and open-access repositories.

Rachel comments:

“Many researchers might not even know their library has this tool – it just looks like the library catalogue to them – but is much more than that.”

Zetoc

What is it? One of the world’s most comprehensive research databases, this Jisc service gives you access to over 28,000 journals and more than 52 million article citations and conference papers through the British Library’s electronic table of contents.

Key features: Researchers can get email alerts of the table of contents in journals, keeping them up to date with the latest literature in their field.

Neil says:

“This is a very popular feature and is an easy way to search back to previous articles to support your research.”

Europeana

What is it? This is a meta-catalogue of cultural heritage collections from a range of Europe's leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums. The catalogue includes books and manuscripts, photos and paintings, television and film, sculpture and crafts, diaries and maps, sheet music and recordings.

Features: You can download your resource, print it, use it, save it, share it and play with it.

Neil tells us:

“This is hugely important for the humanities and some social sciences.”

Social web

Twitter

What is it? Harness the power of social discovery and particularly the #icanhazpdf hashtag for locating PDFs that you do not have access to through your institution.

Features: Tweet an article you need using this hashtag and someone will point you to a copy that you can access.

Reference management and discovery services

Mendeley and Zotero

What are they? They are both ways to share reference lists, citations, and even full papers in the case of Mendeley.

Key feature: Save, organise and store your references so that you can remain organised ready for the final write-up.

Source : https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/ten-search-engines-for-researchers-that-go-beyond-google-11-jul-2013

 

Categorized in Online Research

Sometimes performing a search at Google can be a frustrating experience. Sometimes you may be searching for the most up-to-date information about a particular subject only for some old, outdated resources to appear. Or perhaps you’re looking for a specifically-named product only for Google to show you unrelated results

Well, if you’ve ever had some frustrating experiences with performing searches on Google, this resource is for you. We’re making this article so you can share it with the search-challenged in your life: maybe it’s your Mom or Dad (or as I call my parents – my Mem Mem & Pep Pep). Perhaps a brother or sister. Every one of us has someone in our lives who seem to not really understand how to effectively search on search engines. Well, read on for 10 techniques to help you make the most out of searching on Google.

First of all…

What is an Advanced Google Search Operator?

A search operator is a way for the searcher to fine-tune their search query to try to get the most relevant results possible. Using a search operator can help you only see results with a certain word order that you specify, results during a certain date range, and more. Using search operators help you – the searcher – define what you wish to see in the search results.

Our Top 10 Advanced Google Search Techniques

Below are our favorite search operators to use to you get the most out of your search engine experience. Each one includes the exact operator and example of how to use it:

1.) “Negative Keyword”
-keyword 
Printer -cartridge will show results for the word printer but not the word cartridge.2.) “File Type”
filetype:pdf
Cancer research filetype:pdf will show only results that you can download as a PDF file.3.) “Synonyms Match”
~keyword 
~car will search for “car” and synonyms of “car”4.) “Phrase Match”
“keyword keyword”

“chocolate chip cookies” will not get results for someone who wrote “chocolate mint chip cookies”. Only those three words in that order.

5.) “OR”
The | symbol 
Jessica + Williams|Wiliams|William is a search for all of those possibilities (Jessica Williams OR Wiliams OR William)

6.) “Price Range”
#…#
bedding $100…$200 will show search results for bedding between $100 and $200 dollars

7.) “All in Text”
allintext:
allintext: chicken cilantro lime recipe will show search results for recipes with these three ingredients

MORE ADVANCED:

8.) “Search Within”
site:
Animals site:www.facebook.com will show only animal related pages within Facebook.

9.) “Date Search”
daterange:
Facebook daterange: 201108 will find only information and news from August 2011.

10.) “Fill in the Blank”
*
Obama signed the * bill this week will allow google to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches.

What do you think? Did we miss anything that you like to use? Please share below!

Source : http://www.add3.com/insights/advanced-google-search-tips/

Categorized in Search Techniques
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