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Tutor profile: Rich B.

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Rich B.
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Questions

Subject: Arabic

TutorMe
Question:

How are words formed in Arabic?

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Rich B.
Answer:

Most Arabic words stem from a triliteral (3-letter) root. That root is the infinitive verb form. For example, KTB (kataba) is the verb "to write". From that root, many words are built. Using KTB (kataba) as an example: kitab (book, the thing that is written), katib (writer, the one who writes), maktab (office, the place where writing is done), and maktaba (library, the place where the written things are stored). This is just one example. Arabic has many features that make is a fun and challenging language to learn. One fun thing that makes it less challenging, however, is its generally consistent system of word formation.

Subject: World Geography

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Question:

How many oceans are there in the world?

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Rich B.
Answer:

Like many things in geography, that depends on how you think about it. It's similar to the question of how many planets are in the solar system. We used to say there were four oceans: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic. In recent years, however, authorities such as the National Geographic Society have added a fifth: the Southern Ocean. This is basically the waters around Antarctica. An important thing to remember, though, is that all these waters are connected and circulating, so many people say there is just one global ocean.

Subject: Library and Information Science

TutorMe
Question:

I need to find an article on if sleep helps high school students get better grades, but I'm having trouble finding a good one. What can I do?

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Rich B.
Answer:

Thank you for your question. First, take the important parts of your question and put them in the form of a search string, like this: "high school students" AND sleep AND grades Note the use of quotation marks for exact phrases and the word AND to tell the computer that you want all of these search terms. Next, for each part, try to think of related keywords or phrases you can use, in case your first search is unsuccessful. Try to think of DIFFERENT ways to say each part, SMALLER pieces, and BIGGER concepts. For example, a different way to say sleep might be rest. A smaller subset of students might be girls. "high school" is part of the bigger concept of education. Make notes of as many related terms as you can. Don't worry if something is not an exact synonym or might not be useful--your search results will tell you if a term is effective, and the worst that will happen if you use an ineffective term is you'll have to try a different one. Using your basic search string, add a few related terms that you have thought of, like this: (education OR "high school students") AND (sleep OR rest) AND (grades OR "academic success") Note the use of parentheses and OR for either/or constructs. This is called nesting and is another useful technique. You're telling the computer that you want any one of the terms (but not necessarily all of them) in the first parentheses in combination with any one of the terms in the second parentheses and any one of the terms in the third parentheses. Try it and see if it helps. If you get too many results this way, just remove the nests and simplify your search string. You have all the power. Working from this search string, review the results. If you find something that works for you, great! If not, or if you need more resources, try changing one keyword at a time in the search string. Changing one thing at a time will help show you if the new word you swapped in is useful or not. The results will tell you how effective that new word is. If you still are having trouble, try a completely different search string to approach your topic from a different angle. Again, your imagination can think of several options if you let it. For example: "secondary education" AND (achievement OR success) AND exhaustion "high school" AND (teens OR adolescents) AND (concentration OR focus) sleep AND (studying OR learning) These examples are all different, and yet they are all related and still on or near your topic. You can never try too many approaches, so don't worry. Brainstorming related keywords is your most powerful research tool. While you are doing that, however, take time to look around the database or search engine you are using. What limiting functions does that tool offer? How can you narrow the results toward what you need? Is there a check box to give you only results where the full text is available immediately without extra cost? Can you limit to just academic journals? Magazines? Other content types? Perhaps you can limit by the date of publication to screen out results that are too old to be useful to you. Attention to details like this is another vital skill you should practice. I hope this was helpful to you. If you practice the skills we have discussed here, I guarantee that your ability to retrieve useful information will improve.

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