This research guide will help to meet the following objectives:
Learn how to construct an effective search for information.
Learn which library databases contain information on specific subjects.
Learn how to search for credible sources.
Learn how to search for peer-reviewed sources.
Learn how to evaluate sources.
Learn how to cite sources.
Basic Research Strategy
Procedure for effective searching:
Determine the broad topic.
Write down the words you associate with that topic. These will be Keywords.
You have to do preliminary research to do effective research.
Identify related topics associated with the topic by browsing a variety of sources (related topics will help to generate more keywords to use to narrow the search, that is, to make the search results more specific) by using some of the following sources:
Turn your topics into effective search terms.
Decide if your search term is a commonly used phrase, e.g., “global warming,” or two separate ideas, e.g., “internet” and “history.”
Combine terms. Why combine terms?
Combining terms is a step in Boolean algebra. See the Boolean Machine for visual examples of Boolean searches.
Some databases supply the AND for you. Read search suggestions or HELP before searching a database.
Or combine phrases,using the command AND, e.g., “global warming” AND “fossil fuels.”
Combine terms to reduce the number of retrieved items.
Combine terms to make the search more relevant.
Keep track of which terms you have used and whether they were successful.
Write the search terms down.
Identify credible sources, that is, reliable sources.