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RES 502 - Research Strategies: Assignment 2

Two credit online course for Associated Canadian Theological Schools

Background to the Assignment

In this assignment, you will be searching for books. Our primary search tool is Library OneSearch, which you can use to find books and other resources in the library.  You will find it on the library home page:  For the purposes of this assignment, you need to go to the library home page and choose "Books" from the various options in the main search box. This will limit your search to books initially.  For a more comprehensive guide to Library OneSearch, go to

Library searches, whether they be for books or for articles, are never as simple as they may appear. In this book search exercise, you will start with keywords, a type of search you probably know well, but there will be options on the results page to refine what you have found in ways not possible through a Google search. In advance of doing this assignment, it is crucial that you read Research Strategies, chapters four to six, very carefully, even if you consider yourself to be a searching whiz. There is a logic to finding information in databases, and you must understand that logic if you want to be efficient in retrieval. 

Keywords and Controlled Vocabularies

The most difficult concept for students is the difference between keywords and controlled vocabularies.  They are not at all the same, and you need to study the differences until they become very clear to you. The textbook, chapter 5, is devoted to subject headings.

A significant number of assignment #2's submitted by students are returned because the controlled vocabulary/subject heading search was done incorrectly.  Please be sure you understand the concept before you submit the assignment (more information below).

The most important thing to remember is that controlled vocabularies, such as subject headings, are search terminology created by librarians. You can't create your own subject headings or even revise existing headings. You have to take them as given.  Keywords, on the other hand, are created by you.  You have the power to shape them any way you want.  Keywords are words found in titles, etc.  Subject headings tell you what a book or article is actually about.  They are a way of pulling together everything on a subject regardless of what words are used in titles.

With keyword searching, consistently the biggest problem I see is that searchers start with too MUCH terminology.  I recommend that you start with two or three search words.  If that produces too much material, then add a word or two.  Simplicity generally wins over complexity in keyword searching.  Remember that, for an AND search, every word you add eliminates results from your list.  Some of those results might potentially be useful.  Keep searching simple unless lack of sufficiently narrow results calls for more complexity.

Finding Subject Headings

Library OneSearch (access from the main search box on the library home page) starts with keyword searching, but it has a robust subject heading system as well. Note the difference: Keywords are words found in titles, etc. Subject headings don't depend on words in titles. Instead, they are descriptors that tell you what a work is actually about. (More information at 

There are actually two ways to identify subject headings in OneSearch.  This presentation describes both of them: 


The most common way is to use the subject links in the column to the left of your results. Consider this sequence (below):

1. Initial search box - Use the Books tab, search on "Historical Jesus." In this case we have set the dropdown box to Title. This creates a search on words in book titles.


2. Have a look at your results


At this point, you may think you are done, but 254 results is a lot. Some will be highly relevant, but some will not.

3. Limit by subject heading (found in the column to the left of your results) to reduce result numbers and improve relevance: Jesus Christ--Historicity.  Jesus Christ--Historicity is a subject heading rather than terminology found in a book title.  It is formatted to gather everything on the historical Jesus into one search.


4. You now have 66 highly relevant results


If you searched just on that subject heading, you would find book titles on the topic that didn't even use the term "historical Jesus" in their titles:


5. Choose some results to put in a temporary folder


6. Within the temporary folder you can save citations that can be formatted in Chicago/Turabian Humanities or APA formats. Alternatively you can download your citations to a bibliographic manager like EndNote (more on this below).

For more information on using Library OneSearch, see the tutorial at


Bibliographic Managers - EndNote Web 

Bibliographic managers enable you to collect citations to various resources (books, articles, etc.), put them in folders, and generate bibliographies in various formats. They are a bit complex to learn, but they can be a valuable source through your student career and beyond.

EndNote Web ( is free (though you need to sign up for an individual account), and you can keep it as long as you want. I recommend that you start using it to formulate citations. You will find a set of tutorials to help you get started at

Creating Formatted Citations without a Bibliographic Manager.

If you find that EndNote Web is simply too complex for you, it's best if you do not use it for these assignments. 

Books in Library OneSearch have a cite function to create formatted citations. Either click on a title and then see "Cite" on the right, or save some results (as illustrated above) and create formatted citations.

Alternatively, you can create book citations using WorldCat ( Here is a guide to help you with that.  Some other e-book platforms allow you to create citations by adding references to a folder and using either the Save or Cite function to the right.

A useful alternative is Citation Machine ( Formats are listed near the top of the screen. For most uses, "Chicago" is the same as Turabian.

Another tool which can help you format book and article citations is KnightCite ( You will have to select Books from the left, then enter the required information.

Note that computer-generated citations can have serious challenges. Here is an example of things you may need to revise:

Computer citation: 


Le Donne, Anthony. Historical Jesus : What Can We Know and How Can We Know It? William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2011.

The errors: 

Le Donne, Anthony. Historical Jesus : What Can We Know and How Can We Know It?  Place of Publication is sometimes missing: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2011. Find place of publication from the database record for this item

What it should look like: Le Donne, Anthony. Historical Jesus: What Can We Know and How Can We Know it?  Grand Rapids : William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2011.

APA format:

Databases use APA 7th edition (released October 2019), so for books, place of publication is no longer required.  Thus the correct citation is:

Le Donne, A. (2011). Historical Jesus: What can we know and how can we know it? William B. Eerdmans Pub.

For a good guide to Turabian formats use:

Note that there are TWO Turabian formats, Author-Date and Humanities (sometimes called Notes & Bibliography) format. ACTS uses the Humanities format, which calls for footnotes or endnotes rather than short, in-text references. The Turabian site linked above uses the Humanities format.

For guides to APA, go to

Use these one of these guides to "fix" your computer-generated citations.

Assignment #2

[Click on the file link above to download a template in rich text format (works in most word processors).  It will form an outline so you can insert your answers under each heading. You can then submit the complete document to Prof. Badke by e-mail attachment].

Read Research Strategies, Chapters Four to Six.

For each of your topics:

A. State your research question.

B. Go to the main search box on the library home page to begin your searching.

For each of your research questionsstart with a Books search, choosing the "Keyword" or "Title" option, to identify books relevant to your research question. (If you don't get enough results, change the Title option to Keyword):

The Books tab searches both print books and e-books. If you want only one type (e.g. e-books), use the limiter in the column to the left of your results.

Indicate what search words or word combinations you tried (e.g. Homeless* AND Philadelphia).  If your first search doesn't work, use lateral thinking to find other ways that title words could be used to produce relevant results, but avoid multiplying the various search combinations you use.  Instead, use critical thinking to come up with a few narrow and highly relevant terms. Note that the truncation symbol for Library OneSearch is *.

Be sure to indicate what successful Keyword combinations you used. List each search you did on a separate line:
Kingdom Luke
Kingdom Gospel Luke

C. Make a list of ten books relevant to each research question in alphabetical order by author (thus you will have two lists of ten items each). Include author, title, place of publication, publisher and date, and use either the Chicago/Turabian: Humanities or APA format. Turabian is to be used for most topics, but APA can be used for psychology-related topics.  You MUST list all books in this assignment in either Turabian humanities or APA format.  For information on ways to do this, see the backgrounder above. Remember that there are two Turabian formats. You want Chicago/Turabian: Humanities format rather than Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date format.

For Turabian, these examples will explain the differences between the two Turabian formats. Use the second format, not the first:

 Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date format: 
Badke, William B. 2005. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Meaning of Everything. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications. Don't use this format.

Use this: Chicago/Turabian: Humanities format: 
Badke, William B. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Meaning of Everything. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2005. Use this format.

For APA format, the citation should look like this:
Badke, W. B. (2005). The hitchhiker's guide to the meaning of everything. Kregel Publications.

D. Put an asterisk next to the most highly relevant titles.  These ones will be helpful in guiding you to the correct subject headings to use for the next part of this assignment.

E. Be sure that your bibliographies are in alphabetical order by author. Don't number bibliographies. If you want to make them hanging (normal format in which second and following lines are indented), do this: 
Select the whole bibliography                             Right click                             Paragraph                             Special                             Hanging                             OK.

For your each of your research questions, redo the searches you did in Part Two. This time, narrow your results by subject heading. Please be aware that up to half of all students get their assignments returned because they did not understand subject heading searching. Make sure that you have grasped the concept.

Instructions: To see how to narrow by subject headings, go to and view the box entitled: Types of Limiters Available. All subject headings are in the column to the left of your results (see the illustration to your left). If you don't find a subject heading you want, click on the Show More link below the subject heading list.

Be sure to indicate what subject headings you used, listing each on a separate line. Be sure they are actual subject headings rather than your own created keywords.

Make a list of ten books relevant to each research question. Include author, title, place of publication, publisher and date and use either Turabian Humanities (not Turabian Author-Date) or APA format. The list needs to be in alphabetical order by author. (Your list can include book titles that are the same as those found in your initial search from the main search box, if you wish, though the two lists might be quite different)

Note that, with subject searches, success depends on how many results you had before you narrowed by subject.  For example, if you have 700+ results, narrowing by subject should be relatively easy.  If you have only 25 results, there will be fewer subject headings available, and they will lead you to fewer actual results.  Here's how to address this problem, if you encounter it.  Either:

i. Search more broadly.  Note that books tend to be broad.  Instead of searching on Climate change AND Arctic AND silver foxes, search on Climate change Arctic.  This will get you a larger number of initial results.
ii. If you can't search more broadly and you have few initial results, use the subject headings anyway, even if this produces only 2 or 3 results.  Show the subject headings you used, list the results, and explain that there are few because you didn't have many initial results.

Comment on which search (subject heading or keyword title) was most profitable, and on how much overlap there was in results found by each search (i.e. how many results were the same).

Rubric for Assignment Two.  Highest grade meets these criteria:

  • Creative and insightful use of keyword terminology in Library OneSearch to get best results
  • Creative and insightful use of subject headings in OneSearch to get best results
  • Excellent results that make a real contribution to meeting the needs of the research question
  • Lists are each in alphabetical order by author
  • Proper formatting of book results
  • Demonstrated ability to troubleshoot issues