Philosophy Resources

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  • Research Tools

    Developing Search Terms

    The first step in picking a topic is to brainstorm by asking yourself a few questions.  What do you already know about this topic from your course readings?  Are there similar ideas that you might want to explore?  What are the key concepts that you're interested in pursuing?

    Once you've spent a bit of time answering these questions, you can take the concepts you've identified and use the keywords and phrases to start searching for information.  Keep in mind that you'll need to build a base of knowledge before you can write effectively.

    Database Search Techniques

    Databases respond best to keyword searching.  To search efficiently, turn your research question into a keyword search:

    Research Question:  Do humans have an obligation to treat animals ethically?

    Search One: (Search with keywords connected by “and”):
    humans and obligation and animals

    Search Two: (Truncate some of the keywords using *):
    human* and obligat* and animal*

    Search Three: (Add alternate words into the search with “(or)”):
    human* and (oblig* or compel* or requir*) and animal*

    Truncate keywords where applicable.  Truncation uses the asterisk (*) to end a word at its core, allowing you to retrieve many more documents containing variations of the search term.  Truncation can also be used to find the singular and plural forms of a term.  Example: teen* will find teen, teens, teenager and teen's.





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    Search Google Scholar

    Looking for more articles?  Search Google Scholar for additional information on your topic.

    Search for Articles on the web

    Below is a selection of online resources that include a vast number of articles on topics in Philosophy. The resources on this page include articles from both scholarly and popular sources, so be sure to evaluate your sources in order to make sure they're appropriate for your project.