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JOUR 390: Freedom of the Press

Overview

The following Library and internet resources are geared toward CSUN students who are studying the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and related issues. 

  • Choosing the best resources to use for research involves several factors, including assignment requirements, currency of the research topic, and the depth of coverage needed.
  • Periodical articles (magazines, newspapers, trade publications, and scholarly journals) are excellent sources of current and/or specific information for informative and persuasive speeches.
  • What is a Scholarly Article? (Video)
  • Additional help with library research techniques can be found on the Oviatt Library's Research Strategies Library guide.

Brainstorming Search Terms or Keywords

  1. Once you have chosen a topic, write it down in the form of a question or brief statement:
  2. What is the relationship between the First Amendment and the Freedom of Speech?
  3. Pull out the keywords and phrases that are most specific to your topic:
    • "First Amendment" and "Freedom of Speech"
    • Take those keywords and phrases and brainstorm related terms, concepts or synonyms
    • First Amendment > "law" or "Constitutional right" or "ruling" or "mandate"
    • Freedom of Speech > "freedom of expression" or "free speech" or "lack of censorship"
  4. Formulate a search strategy using boolean search, wildcards, phrases, etc.
    • (First Amendment OR "Constitutional right") AND (Freedom of Speech OR lack of censorship)

     5. Write down your key words and phrases along with their synonyms in the form of a Boolean search statement. Use the root word, and truncate it with an asterisk (*) if it is a word you would like to see its variant endings.

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are words (or, and, not) used to connect search terms to expand or narrow a search within a database to locate relevant information.

It is helpful to diagram the effects of these operators:

women or females

women or females

Or retrieves records that contain anyof the search terms. It expands the search. Therefore, use "or" in between terms that have the same meaning (synonyms) or equal value to the search.

women and media

women and media

And retrieves records that contain all of the search terms. It narrows or limits the search. Therefore, use "and" in between terms that are required to make the search specific.

image not weight

Not eliminates records that contain a search term. It narrows or limits the search. Therefore, use "not" in front of a term to ensure that the search will not include that term. Warning: Some databases use "and not" instead of "not." Check the database help screen.

 

Truncation

Most databases allow for a symbol to be used at the end of a word to retrieve variant endings of that word. This is known as truncation.

Using truncation will broaden your search. For example,

bank* will retrieve: bank or banks or banking or banker or bankruptcy, etc.

Databases and Internet search engines use different symbols to truncate. In general, most of the Library's databases use the asterisk (*) ; however, the exclamation point (!) is used in LexisNexis. Check the database help screen to find the correct truncation symbol.

Be careful using truncation. Truncating after too few letters will retrieve terms that are not relevant. For example:

cat* will also retrieve cataclysm, catacomb, catalepsy, catalog, etc.

It's best to use the boolean operator "or" in these instances (cat or cats).

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