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WRI 102: Texting and Driving: Getting Started

Guide created by Jia Mi


Spend some time thinking about the keywords that best describe your topic. Consider things such as:

  • Synonyms
  • Related terms
  • Alternate spellings
  • Abbreviations

While it is possible to type a whole question into Google and, it is not an effective way to search databases or the library catalog.

For more information on Keywords, look at the LINKS Tutorial - Module 2. 

Why can't you just Google?


Use Reference Sources to:

   * Get a quick overview on a topic
   * Find facts fast
   * Lead you to additional resources

Develope a Search Strategy

1. Write out your thesis statement and underline the words that you think represent the main ideas of your topic. For example:

State lawmakers should create a law that completely bans cell phone use, including both talking on cell phones and sending text messsages, for anyone who is driving a vehicle. Enforcement of such a law will prevent more accidents and deaths caused by these distracted drivers.

2. Create a list of synonyms for each word that you underlined. For example:

  • LAW: policy, policies
  • SENDING TEXT MESSAGES: texting, cell phones, distractions
  • VEHICLE: cars, bus, trains, trucks

3. Type those words into the search boxes in library databases, in different combinations, separating them with the word AND. To get the best and most information, try as many combinations of these terms as possible. For example:

  • cell phones AND policies
  • cell phones AND driving
  • cell phones AND laws AND driving
  • text messages AND driving
  • texting AND driving
  • distracted driving and cell phones
  • cell phones AND driving AND accidents
  • cell phones AND driving AND deaths
  • driving AND distractions

4. When you are looking at your results, click on an article title or book title and look for SUBJECT words, often hyperlinked, that represent these main ideas in your thesis statement. In this example, I would probably add "text messages" "traffic safety" "distracted driving" and "automobile driving" to my list of words to try in my search:

Subject Guide

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Jia Mi
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