Why Develop a Search Strategy?
Before starting a search, it is helpful to clarify what you are looking for by developing a search strategy. Developing a search strategy is a useful practice for several important reasons.
Building a Search Strategy
Think about the focus of your question. Summarize your topic in one or two sentences or questions; try to be as specific as possible.
Identify key concepts. Using your summarization, identify the two or three main concepts.
Use advanced searching options or limiters to narrow your results. If your results list is large, narrow down the results by date, material type, etc.
Build on what you've found. The research process is not linear but cyclical. When you find articles that seem relevant, use the subject headings, or descriptors, and citations from those articles to expand your search. This process will help you re-evaluate your ideas and refocus your search if necessary.
What if you absolutely cannot think of other search terms to describe your topic? Remember you can always email or call me!
Search for a certain methodology by adding it to your search; examples: quantitative, qualitative, longitudinal
Search for certain models or theories by putting the theory in quotes; examples: "systems theory"
Search for a specific author; examples: theorists, well-known experts, authors of other articles that you found useful
Refresh your memory of or develop an understanding of basic concepts with these reference resources:
This short video from UCLA Libraries is very useful!