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Fundamentals of Inquiry/Prof. Rick Baker: Class Handout

What's in the Handout from Class?

Handout for class: 6 October 2017             Library Homepage -    One Stop Search

Sample topic: What are the health effects of using cannabis?

How do I know what to use as search words?

  1. Don’t search the entire sentence. Only major words/terms are necessary.
  2. What are major words/terms?
  3. - yes. It describes my topic.
  4. - yes. It describes my topic.
  5. – maybe. Other words are possible, such as impacts, results, consequences.

The others – what, are, the, of, using – are unnecessary. They would appear in almost record and don’t help define my topic.

My search:health cannabis(over 28,457 results)

My search:health cannabis effects(over 22,641 results)

Adding words to an existing search means fewer results.

Changing words means different results.

I can use results to help find other possible search terms and narrow my search.


What are results?

  1. A One Stop Search result is a record from the BU Library system. A result appears when my search term appears in an individual record. If I search 2 terms, both terms must appear in a record before that record becomes a result. The more terms I search at once, the fewer results I will get, as it is less likely that ALL my terms will appear in one record.
  2. A One Stop Search (OSS) searches records for different Resource Types - including print books, e-books, scholarly & non-scholarly journal articles, dissertations, videos, journal titles, Course reserves. My results may include all of these, some of these, or none of these.
  3. My results for my search   health cannabis effects   include items from the Library Catalogue and Journal Articles groups, but no Course Reserves. Clicking on any one category will show specific group results. (Over 22,641 results on OSS, but only 16 of those are results are found for a Library Catalogue search.)
  4. Click on Library Catalogue.
  • What order are the results in?
  • How do I get more information about any one result?
  • How do I get the thing itself?
  • Can I keep track of what I like?
  1. I may Sign In to the Library system to track results & searches and see my library account.

What results are best for me?

  1. What do I need?
  1. Books? Click on Library Catalogue. Do I need academic books? What does that mean?
  • Books are a good source to start research – they may include more background information as an introduction to the topic.
  • Click on the title of any one result for more information about that result.
  • Does that information include other words to describe my topic?
  • Do I need to change my search terms?
  1. Journal Articles? Click Journal Articles. Do I need peer-reviewed articles? What does that mean?
  • The Library has more articles than books, so there are usually more article results.
  • Articles usually are more detailed about a small part of a larger topic. A book might be called Health effects of cannabis use and have a chapter on one positive effect, a chapter on a negative effect, and chapter dealing with the law for medical use of cannabis, and so on. A journal article (especially an academic, peer-reviewed or scholarly one) is likely about a very specific aspect of one health effect in a specific population- for example, Cannabis Use in Psychosis: the Effects On Metabolic Health.
  • Results include various Resource Types. If you want only Articles, look for your choices in the Resource Type section to the left of results. Find choices for Peer-reviewed limiters in the Availability section to the left of results.
  1. Chapter in an edited book. For a book, use the Library Catalogue search.
  • I add the term editor to my search:  health cannabis effects editor. There is only one result, and when I check it, it isn’t what I need.

I need to change my search to get more results: health cannabis editor

Now there 3 results – one of which I find useful for this topic.

  1. Not all results are useful. I need to check several results, decide what fits together, and if they support my argument.

Where can I get help with this?

  • Professor
  • Make a Research Appointment button on the Library homepage.
  • Reference Desk (no appointment needed)- Main Library Monday-Thursday 11 AM-3 PM  and Friday 11 AM-2 PM.
  • Chat Reference - see popup box on the Library homepage.
  • Ask at the Main Circulation Desk
  • Talk to/email us about scheduling other times if none of this works for you.
  • There is no limit to the number of times you may visit the Reference Desk, use Chat, ask questions, or book appointments.
  • We do not discuss with your professor any of the information about which you ask.
  • Writing Centre – they also schedule times in the Library