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FNDS 1202: Democratizing Democracy

Mardigian Search

Advanced Search

Search for Information in Our General Mardigian Search

These tips are specific for our general Mardigian Search, however, you can apply these same keyword search strategies to anywhere you do research. In the Mardigian search box above, type in keywords to get you started.

Keyword Searches

  • Keywords are the important themes and words you're interested in researching
  • Keywords are the who, what, when, where, and why mentioned during your interview
  • Try getting inspiration from tags on your initial search results. These are words or phrases that the author/publisher/editor have determined to be major themes or concepts in the piece. Search algorithms match your initial keyword searches with these tags.
  • Don't use filler words like effect, impact, role, or connection as these will muck up the search.
  • You may have to look for synonyms or variations to your original keyword search.
  • For example, if you interviewed your grandma for your Citizen Interview assignment and she mentioned voting for President Kennedy because of his debates on TV you can do more research on that topic by pulling out keywords. An example of these keywords could be:
    • Who: John F. Kennedy (also search for JFK or just Kennedy) and Richard M. Nixon (also search for just Nixon) 
    • What: Debates or Presidential Debates
    • When: 1960
    • Where: West Virginia
    • How: TV, Television
  • The keyword search you may want to start out with is [JFK and Nixon Presidential Debates TV 1960]

Select Content Type

  • Choose what format you'd prefer
    • Examples: Book/eBook, Journal Article, Magazine Article, Streaming Video, Web Resources, ...
  • If you don't have a preference you can always leave all of the results in and continue to narrow down by the suggestions below

​​Filter Your Search Results

  • In Mardigian Search, use Refine Your Search on the left hand side
  • Select Disciplines and Subjects that interest you
    • Example of Disciplines: government, history & archaeology, journalism & communications, political science, psychology ...
    • Example of Subjects: 1960s, 20th century, american history, american television, americans, campaign debates, communication, debates, democracy, history, propaganda, ...
  • ​Select the publication date you find most useful by moving the yellow slide scale

Refine Your Search

  • Continue to narrow down your results by changing the Discipline and Subjects selected.
  • Change your keyword search as you go. You will find as you do your research that your initial search terms may change and become more specific as you do research and narrow down your focus.
  • Play around with it as you go and contact your professor or the First Year Experience Librarian, Sophia McFadden-Keesling (semcfadd@umich.edu) if you get stuck or confused.

It's a TRAAP!!!

TRAAP is a simple acronym that can be used as a tool for evaluating information and determining if you're heading toward a research trap. Each letter in TRAAP represents a criteria by which to measure the reliability and appropriateness of sources.

Timeliness: The currency of the information 

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has it been updated?
  • Do you need the most current, up-to-date information on your topic?

Relevance: The information meets your assignment needs 

  • Does the source meet your assignment requirements?
  • Does the information directly relate to your topic?
  • Does it help you answer questions?
  • Have you looked at other sources to find the best one?

Authority: The source of the information 

  • Who is the author or publisher?
  • Are they qualified to write about this area?
  • If it's a website, what does the URL say about the source, i.e. .com .edu .gov .org?

Accuracy: The reliability and correctness of the information 

  • Is the information supported by citations or other evidence?
  • Can you verify the information with another source?

Purpose: The reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? To inform, sell, persuade, or entertain?
  • Is the information given a fact or an opinion?
  • Is the author or publisher biased or unbiased?
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