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We are excited to share our new Library catalog and search tool! We hope that you will find it easy to search and explore our collections. If you need help, have questions, or want to share feedback, visit the Ask a Librarian page.
Craft effective searches starting from a general topic or research question.
Activity: brainstorm search terms
Identify and use search tools, i.e. library databases, to locate relevant resources- books, articles and more.
Become familiar with library resources & services
Identify and select databases based on research interests and needs.
Learn the conversations (and questions) around your topic.
Who is saying what? Is anyone arguing? Whose voices are the loudest? Whose voices are missing?
Obtain evidence (in various formats, i.e. books, articles, etc.) to inform your contribution to the conversation.
Database demo & practice
Discipline specific databases
Obtain citation information to appropriately cite sources
Citation tools & guides
Ways to get research help
You will likely go through the search process a number of times, performing different searches with different keyword combinations, to address the different components of your topic.
#1 Identify your question. Identify the key concepts and related terms. Tip: You may want to re-phrase your question. Background reading can help you identify related terms and further define or narrow your topic.
Explore reference lists to locate other articles, books, or authors who have written on the same topic.
#2Find an appropriate search tool. Consider your subject matter, discipline of study, type of information needed (e.g. peer reviewed articles)
Locate cited by literature to view more recent similar or adjacent research.
#3 Start with a simple search based on your key concepts. Tip: You may also have to look at literature that refers to one (not all) aspects of your research question.
Browse the table of contents of relevant journals and special issues.
#4 Use specific search strategies.
Use AND to join dissimilar terms.
Use ORto join synonyms or related terms.
Truncate words with * to pick up variations of that word.
Use "quotation marks" forphrase searching.
Use database limiters e.g. limit to scholarly journals.
Consider searching in a specific field e.g. title (article title) or source (journal title.)
Review bibliographies or reading lists to locate recommended or key resources.
#5 Search and skim results. Look for the language and terms that researchers use and that the database assigns to articles (Subjects).
Locate an expert Locate an expert the the field and browse their publications.
#6 Switch up your searches. Use promising new terminology. Your search may become more sophisticated.