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Public Speaking - Stratton: Creating Search Strategies

This guide is designed to help you find supporting evidence for your speech assignments in Crystal Stratton's public speaking course.

Creating Search Statements

Creating good search statements will help speed up your research and retrieve the best results while hopefully minimizing the number of irrelevant results.  The strategies mentioned on this page - using keywords, boolean operators, truncation and phrases - are not absolutely required for all search engines but they can make any search engine, even Google, work better for you. 

Truncation & Phrases

Library Catalog (WYLDCAT) EBSCOhost & WilsonWeb
Finds everything with the words
teen, teens, or teenagers
teen$ teen*
Phrase Use single quotes: 'teen suicide' Use quotes: "teen suicide"

Identifying Keywords & Synonyms

  • Reduce the thesis statement to important terms or keywords
  • Example:  What is the relationship between
    advertisements and teenagers' self image?
  • Think of SYNONYMS:   teenagers = teens or youth or adolescents

Boolean Operators

Search Statement:

television AND violence

  • AND only retrieves content where both keywords are present
  • OR is best when searching with synonyms (ex: teens OR adolescents)
  • NOT will exclude terms from your search, similar to the - (negative sign) in Google (ex: football NOT dolphins)


Boolean example courtesy of Crystal Stratton

Library Hours

Monday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sunday 2:30 pm - 7:30 pm