Research for gun violence prevention

PEAC 77


Simon Elichko (they/them)

Social Sciences & Data Librarian

bit.ly/selichk1
 

Five research tips:

  1. Check Gun Violence Archive for links about the incident

  2. Use news coverage to help you choose keywords

  3. Build your search carefully

  4. Expand your research toolkit

  5. Reach out

Check Gun Violence Archive for links to news coverage about the incident

Gun Violence Archive:  gunviolencearchive.org

 

Example incident profile:

https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/incident/1857434

  • Provides some information about incident and people involved
  • Links to news articles and coverage 
  • This incident has multiple sources listed, which won't necessarily be the case for other incidents.

 

Navigating this site isn't intuitive at first, but it's straightforward once you know how to use it  (see next slide)

How to look up an incident using
Gun Violence Archive:

  1. From the homepage, go to Search Database (top right)
  2. Choose Add a Rule
  3. Under Most Popular Filters, choose Location
  4. In the first blank drop-down menu, choose Pennsylvania
  5. For City, type the city (it should auto-complete). Click Search.

    Note: Don't use the County box, it doesn't work!
screenshot search query in Gun Violence Archive

Examples: Incidents by location (city)

Finding incidents by location and date range

Add one rule for location, then a second for date.

  1. Choose Add a Rule
  2. Under Most Popular Filters, choose Location
  3. In the first blank drop-down menu, choose Pennsylvania
  4. For City, type the city (it should auto-complete).

    Note: Don't use the County box
     
  5. Choose Add a Rule
  6. Under Most Popular Filters, choose Date
  7. To search by month:
    • Choose Is In.
    • Set your date range
      example: From 1/1/2021  To 3/31/2021

    To search by year:
    • Choose Is Year.
    • Pick your year (ex. 2021)

Useful reference: Delaware County Towns & Municipalities [list in Wikipedia]

Use existing news coverage to help you choose keywords

Look at existing news coverage of
gun violence incidents:

  • Notice patterns – what kind of information is provided? What's missing?
  • Pay attention to word choice – what words might come up in news coverage about other incidents?

Some useful keywords found in news articles:

  • single words: shot, shooting, killed, homicide, weapon, gun, gunshots
  • phrases: "shots fired" "shots were fired"

Each search consists of three main ingredients:

  • Sources - which websites or documents you're searching
  • Keywords - words you've chosen to include
  • Search syntax - instructions you provide to the search engine about how to handle your keywords

Build your search carefully

Let's practice building searches:

bit.ly/peac77-access-world

Build your search carefully

How to use search syntax:

To find articles mentioning any of these words:
shot OR shooting OR killed OR homicide OR weapon OR gun

Check for multiple keywords at one time using OR

To find articles mentioning any of these words or phrases:

"shots fired" OR "shots were fired" OR shot OR shooting OR killed OR homicide OR weapon OR gun

Build your search carefully

How to use search syntax:

To find articles mentioning Upper Darby and any of the other keywords:

("Upper Darby" AND Pennsylvania) AND (shot OR shooting OR killed OR homicide OR weapon OR gun)

Combine multiple concepts into keyword groups using parentheses ( )

Build your search carefully

How to use search syntax:

Advanced Google syntax

Expand your research toolkit

Delaware County & Philadelphia News Search
Searches only local news sites

Search social media (public posts only, evaluate very carefully)

"shots fired" chester pa site:facebook.com OR site:twitter.com

Web Archives

If you find a broken link, use the Wayback Machine to look for an archived copy.

Search local government websites

Can help you find press releases and conferences

shooting site:chestercity.com OR site:delcoda.com

Try DuckDuckGo (alternative to Google)

Try searching "police blotter" and town name

Reach out

Get help with researching cases:

 

Gun Violence Prevention (PEAC 77)

By selichk1

Gun Violence Prevention (PEAC 77)

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