Step one in any research project is to get a broad overview of the topic or subject area to be explored. (See The Research Process, chapter four: "Step One: Using Encyclopedias.")
A good place to begin is with a standard encyclopedia article. For this purpose, let's visit the Encyclopaedia Britannica online (already loaded in the lower window, if you're using the "frames" version of this tutorial) and use its search engine to search for "American Indian." In the menu of types of searches, be sure to click "Encyclopaedia Britannica," but not "Britannica Internet Guide" or one of the other choices. Type "American Indian" in the space and then click "Search" with your mouse.
The search found many seemingly relevant articles because it found every article with "American" or "Indian" mentioned in it. As a researcher, you need to be aware that when you search for a phrase online, a search engine like the Encyclopaedia Britannica's may be set to search for documents in which both key words appear, or documents in which either of the key words appears. Like most search engines, the Encyclopaedia Britannica's allows you to "force" the type of search it performs.
Computer searches use "Boolean operators" to define the object of a search. If you type "American or Indian," it uses the "Boolean operator" or to find entries containing either word, while searching for "American and Indian" turns up entries containing both words. Try both searches and compare the results.
Note: Encyclopaedia Britannica online is available to WSU computers on campus; to remote users with a WSU dial-up account (879-8720); and to outside ISP users with a WSU username and password.
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