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ENGLISH 205: Nature & the Nature of Argument (Carmichael)

The Use of AI Tools for Research (Google Slides)

General Resources

Below are resources / research tools that may benefit all four groups!

Google Scholar

A free web search that provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly research sources. Search across a wide variety of disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books.  Note the screen shots below to help you set up your Google Scholar to access NU Library full text content.

Image shows how to set up Google Scholar to link directly to sources available from Northwestern Library. Click on the three stacked lines in the upper left.  Then choose settings in the lower left.

Choose Library links under Settings.  Then search for Northwestern University and select it.

Keywords and Search Operators

Keywords describe your research topic, and are the nouns that describe the most important words within your thesis or question.

Example topic: Silent Spring and pesticides

Boolean operators include AND, OR, NOT to either narrow or broaden a search. Many databases require operators to be typed in all caps. 

With the example topic above, you can use Boolean operators to shift from natural language searching to a keyword search:

silent spring AND (pesticides OR insecticides)

    AND narrows or limits a search by requiring that the results contain both or all search terms/words.

  • silent spring AND pesticides

   OR broadens or expands a search by requiring that the results contain either or any of the terms. 
   Useful for finding synonymous or related words.

  • pesticides OR insecticides

   NOT narrows or limits a search by excluding sources with a specified search term.

  • pesticides NOT chlorpyrifos

Truncation search includes a symbol, most commonly an asterisk * but possibly !, ? or # at the end of a word root to look for various word endings.

  • universit* finds university as well as universities; child* finds child, child's, children, pesticide*

Wildcard search uses a symbol, often an asterisk * or ?, in place of an unknown character or characters for words with variant spellings.

  • labo*r find labor as well as labour; wom?n finds woman as well as women

Phrase search uses quotation marks " " around phrases or word combinations.  This ensures a database searches a term or concept like "artificial intelligence" as a phrase and not as separate words.  

  • "nature writing" OR "nature writers"

Note: Depending on the database, searching a phrase without quotes may return some results with the exact phrase and some results with terms appearing as separate words in separate contexts.  Therefore, some search results may not be relevant to your topic.  Experiment with and without quotes to see how results differ and also check the Help screens of specific databases.

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