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Library Research for ECON 300 Economic Analysis. Charlotte Johnson Jones Reference and Social Sciences Librarian Simpson Library Fall 2006. An (Abbreviated) Search Model*. State your research topic or question. Identify the keywords and/or keyconcepts in your topic.

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Library research for econ 300 economic analysis l.jpg

Library Researchfor ECON 300Economic Analysis

Charlotte Johnson Jones

Reference and Social Sciences Librarian

Simpson Library

Fall 2006


An abbreviated search model l.jpg
An (Abbreviated) Search Model*

  • State your research topic or question.

  • Identify the keywords and/or keyconcepts in your topic.

  • Brainstorm to create a list of synonyms.

  • Use Boolean operators, nesting, and wildcards to create a search statement. (Check for accuracy in the database help.)

  • Choose an appropriate database for your subject.

  • Search.

  • Cull the results for hits and clues.

  • Modify the search and/or follow new clues

  • Return to step 5 and repeat.

  • Stop when the same results begin to appear again and again. Use other models, such as “chaining” footnotes and browsing bibliography items to supplement your survey.

    * Adapted from:

    Greenlaw, S. A. (2006) Doing economics: a guide to understanding and carrying out economic research. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

    Ackermann, E., & Hartman, K. Searching & researching on the Internet and the World Wide Web. Wilsonville, OR: Franklin, Beedle & Associates.


State your research topic or question l.jpg
State yourresearch topic or question.

Casinos and the new “what-happens-here stays here” Las Vegas seem to be the hottest places in America these days. Vegas-based reality, travel, and dramatic series are all over cable and the networks. Apparently trying to become a family-oriented theme park in the desert didn’t work out so well for Vegas. (Remember Circus-Circus? And the roller coasters at New York-New York?) It all makes me wonder:

How do casinos affect a local economy?


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2)Identify the keywords in your topic.

How do casinos affect a localeconomy?

Let’s assume that if we can find information about casinos and a local economy it will have to do with the relationship between the two. So let’snot use affect as a keyword.



4 use boolean operators nesting and wildcards to create a search statement l.jpg
4) Use Boolean operators, nesting, and wildcards to create a search statement.

Put each set of synonyms together using OR. “Nest” each set of synonyms in parentheses. Just as in algebra, the parentheses tell the computer to deal with finding the synonyms first. Then link all three concepts together using AND.

(casinos OR gambling) AND (local OR region OR regional) AND (economy OR economic)

Are there any words within each set of parentheses that have the same root? Truncate, or lop-off, the word at the root and add an asterisk to the end. The asterisk is a wildcard that tells the computer to search for all variations of that word. Use the wildcard to search for the singular and plural of a word also. This is the search statement.

(casino* OR gambling) AND (local OR region*) and econom*


4 choose an appropriate database for your subject l.jpg
4) Choose an appropriate database for your subject wildcards to create a search statement.

  • For background information, choose a database with more popular sources

    • Business and Company Resource Center

    • Factiva (business and economic news including the Wall Street Journal)

    • Lexis/Nexis Academic

  • For the literature survey portion of your research project, choose databases with scholarly resources in your field

    • Expanded Academic

    • EconLIT


Caution a database is not the same as a data set l.jpg
Caution: a database is NOT the same as a data set wildcards to create a search statement.

  • Databases and data sets are both compilations of information stored on a computer and organized into records and fields so that the information may be manipulated and/or searched.

  • Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably but most librarians or information scientists make a distinction between the two based on content.

  • To a librarian, a database contains citations, abstracts, or even full text of articles and other primarily verbal information.

  • A data set, on the other hand, usually contains raw numbers, often the data gathered from surveys and other research projects.

Scout around for data sets when refining your topic.

For your ECON300 assignment you will probably either create or locate a data set to analyze, i.e. you need raw data. If you are not going to gather the data yourself (through a survey, for example) be sure that you can actually find the data you will need before your finalize your research question. Remember that most research articles only report the highlights and the author’s own analysis of data. Articles rarely include actual raw data.


Data sets at umw l.jpg
Data sets at UMW wildcards to create a search statement.

ICPSR (See your professor for help.)

  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research archive of downloadable data sets

  • Sets may require special software, computer equipment, or codebooks to decipher and run.

    Lexis Nexis Statistical (See your librarian for help.)

  • Searchable statistics compiled by national and international sources, including the U.S. Census, World Bank, U.S. Departments of Justice, Commerce, Labor, and many more

  • Contains statistical tables, plus a few statistics and time series in Excel format

  • Provides links to primary statistical Web sites, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    10K Wizard (See your librarian for help.)

  • Contains data drawn from financial reports for U.S. publicly-held companies

  • Construct downloadable Excel files of financial indicators in time series for individual companies

  • Select companies according to financial criteria, such as net income, or by NAIC or SIC code

  • Create downloadable Excel comparison reports for groups

See also Guide to Finding Statisticshttp://www.umw.edu/library/research/guides_to_library_resource/finding_statistics.php


Econlit l.jpg
EconLit wildcards to create a search statement.

  • The database for scholarly literature in economics

  • Online, expanded version of the Journal of Economic Literature

  • Contains citations and abstracts for journal articles, books, book chapters, books, dissertations, and working papers

  • Contains no full text except for book reviews since 1993

  • Coverage from 1969-current

  • Updated monthly

  • Over 638,000 records as of February 2004

  • The database is produced by the American Economics Association

  • Database is put into an interface (or “platform”) and sold to libraries and other research organizations by several different commercial vendors. UMW gets our access to PsycINFO through Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA).

  • No matter what platform EconLit is on, its content is the same, but search features may vary by plaform.

Access EconLit from the library’s home page http://www.library.umw.edu


Searching econlit l.jpg
Searching EconLit wildcards to create a search statement.

The EconLit link on the library’s web page opens to Advanced Search.

Use this to change to a completely different CSA database, not a different subject search in EconLit.

Advanced Search “Anywhere” is basically a keyword search.

Notice that this is the only clue you’re searching EconLit. Got your reading glasses?

Limits your search to updates (new records are entered monthly), to references for journal articles, or to English only. Notice there is no limit for full text.


Sample search l.jpg
Sample search wildcards to create a search statement.

Search Statement: (casino* or gambling) AND (local or region*) and econom*

Notice that you don’t have to worry about parentheses when you enter the search. The search boxes take care of that. And according to the Search Tips the asterisk is, in fact, the wildcard for EconLit.


Notice the number and type of results l.jpg
Notice the number wildcards to create a search statement.and type of results

Click on the underlined number of results on any green tab to “go” and see a subset of results by publication type:

Journals, Peer Reviewed Journals, Books, Book Reviews, and More

Whoa. This search returned 579 records. We’ll look at a way to narrow that down in a minute.

Peer Reviewed Journals is a subset of Journals.


More results l.jpg
“More >” results wildcards to create a search statement.

“More >” includes Dissertations, and a miscellany category labeled “Other.”

Click “< More” to see the initial set of results.

“Other” items are usually working papers or book chapters.

Working paper.


Notice the available information for each item l.jpg
Notice the available information for each item wildcards to create a search statement.

Your search terms are in bold italics.

The citation.

A portion of the abstract: Click View Record or the article title to see the full abstract.

JEL subject headings with three-digit classification codes and CSA standard subject headings are assigned to each item.


A sample econlit record l.jpg
A sample wildcards to create a search statement.EconLit record

Click to see more works by each of these authors.

Notice the descriptors also appear in the record. You can check one or more descriptors to build a new search. Use descriptor searches to narrow, to broaden, or to find related items.

Here’s the complete abstract.


Notice how broad the jel descriptor is in this case l.jpg
Notice how broad the JEL descriptor is in this case wildcards to create a search statement.

Notice how broad the JEL descriptor that includes gambling is: Sports, Gambling, Recreation, Tourism (L830). No wonder so many results weren’t about gambling at all. Let’s revise our search to control for this.


To refine or pare down the results of the search l.jpg
To refine, or pare down, the results of the search wildcards to create a search statement.

Do another advanced search. Look for gambling in the descriptors. This will pick up results that have Sports, Gambling, Recreation, Tourism, just as in the first search. Leave the local and economic variables the same.

Add a search row.

Then add casino* with AND. This tells the database only to return Sports, Gambling, Recreation, Tourism items that ALSO have something to do with casinos. Because we have added an additional requirement with AND, we should get many less results.


That s more like it l.jpg
That’s more like it! wildcards to create a search statement.

21 results

Unfortunately, there is no full text except for book reviews in EconLit. Click Locate Journal Article to check availability at UMW Libraries.

These results definitely are relevant to our concern about the relationship between casinos and the local economy.


Locate journal article l.jpg
Locate Journal Article wildcards to create a search statement.

Locate Journal Article (or a link with a similar name in other databases) always opens the same pop-up box specific to UMW Libraries. The citation is automatically entered at the top of the box.


If the article is available online l.jpg
If the article wildcards to create a search statement.is available online

The box shows links to the article in other UMW Libraries online databases. Click to retrieve the full-text.

If the article is not available online, search in the library catalog for the title of the periodical (not the article title).


Last resort interlibrary loan l.jpg
Last resort! wildcards to create a search statement.Interlibrary Loan

New policy: 10/$2/10

  • Please notice the interlibrary loan policy.

  • To better manage your interlibrary loan requests:

  • Use the Locate Journal Article feature and get materials that are in Simpson Library

  • Read abstracts to be sure articles will be useful before you request them

  • Ask for help from the Social Sciences Librarian


Mark records and manage search results l.jpg
Mark records wildcards to create a search statement.and manage search results

Mark items on the results screen and click Update Marked List before moving to another screen.

Click Save, Print, Email to manage your results.

Or check here on the individual record screen and click Update Marked List before returning to results.


Great feature l.jpg
Great feature! wildcards to create a search statement.

From Save Print, E-mail, use QuikBib to create a bibliography from your marked items. Choose your citation style from the dropdown menu and click Create.


If your browser blocks pop ups l.jpg
If your browser wildcards to create a search statement.blocks pop-ups . . .

Click here


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A QuikBib sample wildcards to create a search statement.in Chicago style

Dodouble-check references. Notice that CSA automatically inserts a web address for each of these articles. If you didn’t get to the article through that address, don’t leave it in. Put the details of how you accessed each article you got online. And correct the accessed date. Your professor will spot-check details.


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