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Research Guides

WRR303: Digital Rhetoric

What kind of information and research do you need?

Day of ...  Week of ... Week after ... Months after ... Year after & later
  • Social Media
  • TV News
  • Web-based News
  • Newspapers
  • Web-based News
  • Popular Magazines
  • Some Trade Magazines
  • Academic and scholarly journals
  • Some Trade Magazines
  • Books
  • Government Reports
  • Reference Collections 

Think about the different types of information these sources 

  • Immediate response
  • First person accounts
  • Commentary from experts, organizations, or general public
  • In-depth research (overview or very specific aspects)
  • Brief overview of a topic 
  • Images, Figures or Tables of Data

Tips for building your search - business

Choosing your Search Terms

Think of the language that will be the most effective for your search and keep track of search terms that produce the best results. Ask yourself: 

  • Will your topic be discussed in the news using scholarly terms or would other terminology be more effective?
  • Has the terminology changed over time or based on location? 

 

Designing your Search Strategies

Some databases allow you to enter search terms on separate lines (e.g., enter a keyword the top line and researcher or activist's last name below, so as to articulate your search request)

Use Boolean Operators allow you to widen or narrow the search for your keywords and target your research topic:

Quotations marks (search for specific phrases or names or different spellings e.g., hyphens)

  • "digital rhetoric""Kenneth Burke""Rhetoric Review" 

  • "social media" OR Instagram

  • "eBook" OR  "e-Book

Asterisk * (widen your search results, in certain databases) 

  • institut* = institutions, institution's, institutitional

  • Canad* = Canada, Canada's, Canadians, Canadian, Canadiana

AND (narrows your search)

  • "social media"  AND Canad

  • "digital humanities"  AND rhetori* 

OR (widens your search) - US vs Canadian Spelling, synonyms, acronyms

  • eBook OR  e-book 

  • COVID-19 OR  COVID OR "Corona Virus"

  • snapchat OR "Instagram Stories" OR "Instagram Story"

Using Search Operators

Search operators are a set of commands that can be used in almost every search engine, database, or online catalogue.  The most popular  operators are AND, OR, and NOT. These must all be in capital letters to work. Other operators include parentheses, truncation, and phrases.

Use the following search operators to broaden or narrow your results.

AND Use this word between concepts to narrow your results.  e.g. sensory AND perception
OR Use this word between related concepts.  e.g. habitat OR ecosystem
NOT Use this word to exclude terms from your search. e.g. virus NOT corona
Quotations Use quotes to search for a multi-word concept. e.g. "International Year of Indigenous Languages"
* Use the asterisk symbol to include alternate word endings. e.g. cultur* will search for culture, cultural, and culturally
? Use a question mark to include variations in spelling in your search. e.g. wom?n will search for woman, women
(  ) Use brackets to create separate groups of actions in your search. e.g. "climate change" AND (ecosystem* OR habitat*) AND Ontario

Pictured below is an example of how all of the above search operators can be combined to refine a search that will help locate sources describing the experience of women participating in the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada.

Advanced search using brackets, quotations, an asterisk, and the AND, OR, and NOT commands.