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Step 5: How to choose and use Boolean operators.

Boolean operators, the terms AND, OR, and NOT, are used to modify search results and manage the number of responses generated by your keywords. Essentially you combine your keywords with the Boolean operators to yield different search results in order to increase, decrease, or obtain more

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specific responses. You will learn more about Boolean operators in the next section, but it’s good to know now that this will be another, important step in this search process.

2-2 Activity: Creating Keywords (GRADED) Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a useful visual technique for brainstorming keywords. The brain is constantly making connections between different aspects of a problem. By capturing these connections and exploring them systematically, we are less likely to miss possible solutions. Mind mapping is also a highly visual and efficient way of organizing ideas.

The main subject/research topic is written in the center of a sheet in a circle to begin the mind mapping process. Next, new ideas are drawn in the form of spokes branching from this central idea. These ideas are likely to lead to further ideas which form new spokes and so on. It can be helpful to use different colors for different branches of the map. By the end of the mind-mapping process, you will have an entire page full of keywords related to your research topic.

The first step in creating your own mind map is to grab a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil (several different colored pens would be ideal). Then in the middle of the page, write down the main subject that you plan to research for the persuasive essay project. Next, draw a circle around it:

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From the main circle, draw lines outward to represent the main ideas.

As you dig into each of the main ideas, add sub-topics and supporting evidence:

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We can take the mind map as far as it needs to go to cover all our main ideas, sub-topics, and relevant evidence.

After your mind map is complete, look over the results and pick out the most interesting terms that you have generated on the page—these terms are your keywords.

Sample Mind Map

The image below depicts a sample mind map drawn out based on the research topic “the impact of technology on urban education.”

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2-3 Reading: Library Databases This assignment does not contain any printable content.

2-4 Activity: Library Database Search (GRADED) This assignment does not contain any printable content.

2-5 Assignment: Writing Notes (GRADED) This assignment does not contain any printable content.

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  • Module 2: Discussing Your Topic and Conducting Preliminary Research
    • Module 2: Discussing Your Topic and Conducting Preliminary Research
  • 2-1 Video and Reading: Keywords
    • Video and Reading: Keywords
      • Selecting Effective Keywords
  • 2-2 Activity: Creating Keywords (GRADED)
    • Mind Mapping
    • Sample Mind Map
  • 2-3 Reading: Library Databases
    • This assignment does not contain any printable content.
  • 2-4 Activity: Library Database Search (GRADED)
    • This assignment does not contain any printable content.
  • 2-5 Assignment: Writing Notes (GRADED)
    • This assignment does not contain any printable content.

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