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Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

Professor Judkins ENL 110 Foundations of Writing

Search Strategy Recap: "Is College the Best Option?"


  • Topic:
  • Is College the Best Option?
    • Ways to think about this topic:
      • College - synonyms could be "higher education," university education," or "post-secondary education."
      • What do I mean by "best option"?
        • a path to plentiful job opportunities?
        • a path to a high-paying career?
        • a path to jobs that will always be in demand?
        • the path that gives the biggest return on my investment of time, effort, and money?
      • The "best option" for whom?
        • new high school graduates?
        • older career changers?​​​​​​​
    • How else might I describe my topic?
      • What are alternatives to a four-year college degree?
      • What are careers for people who dislike school work?


Lay out possible searches:

  • college and advantage and disadvantages
  • alternatives to four year college educations

​​​​​​​For example:

Using MasterFile Premier for Popular Articles on "Is College the Best Option?"

  • Find the MasterFile Premier Database on the Berry Library Home Page
    • Follow the sequence of these screen shots from


Entering Search Terms in MasterFile Premier

  • This screen shot illustrates one approach.
  • Notice how using the "Advanced Search" template allows you to switch terms easily.
  • Other terms to try might be"
    • return on investment
    • payback

Limiting Search Results in MasterFile Premier

  • Using the "Limits" in the left margin, adjust the dates of articles.
  • You can also limit to a particular type of publication.
    • Since there are not that many results, I do not select this option.
  • These screen shots show the limit choices and revised results.
    • MasterFile Premier automatically updates results with your selections.

Open PDF or HTML to Read Articles

  • Browse through search results to find articles you want to read.
  • In our search example, I chose this article:
  • The article is informative, but talks about the payoff of higher education for the economic well being of a town.
  • If I want to find articles about the personal payoff for a student, I must refine my search.