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Social Sci LibreTexts

8.3: Tracking Your Search

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  • As you can see from all the discussion about searching, finding a good database to search and constructing an efficient and effective search strategy can be time consuming. So, when you have found a good search string, save it, and have one of the many available tracking services regularly conduct the search for you and deliver the results to your mailbox.

    Many web search engines provide the ability to save a search and get updates on new material that fits that search.

    An excellent example is Google Alerts.

    Set up a search string, tell Alerts how often you want to be updated, what kind of resources you want the tool to check, and it will do the work of keeping up to date on a search topic for you.

    There are specialized tracking tools, too. Many state legislatures or courts have a way you can be apprised of changes to bills, or the progress of legal cases. Again, it just takes having a good search strategy in hand to use one of these, essentially, automated search systems.

    In conclusion: Searching is a complex skill that requires resourcefulness in scoping out where the best search sites will be, cleverness in selecting relevant keywords, efficiency in using search fields to the maximum effectiveness, and care when evaluating your results. As with any complex skill, practice, patience, and an inquiring mind will serve you well as you try to master it.

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