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Research Help: Search Strategies

Get help planning your research, using research tools, finding resources, citing and evaluating sources, and more.

Search Strategies

            What is the connection between smoking and depression among teens?

Describe various uses of pets as therapy for children with developmental delays.

Look for keywords throughout the description of a topic of in a thesis statement:

In the play A Raisin in the Sun, the protagonist, Walter Lee Younger, acts as both an oppressed character and an oppressor to other characters in the play. He is largely governed by gender stereotypes about masculinity (how men should behave), and specifically oppressed by stereotypes and limitations placed on him because of his race. However, he oppresses the women in his life in similar ways, mainly based on expectations he has of how women should behave.

Try to think of different words that describe your topic.

      smoking = cigarettes, nicotine
      depression = depressed, mental health
      teens = teenagers, adolescents, youth

      pets = animals, dogs, cats
      therapy = treatment, rehabilitation
      developmental delays = developmental milestones, physical development, a specific developmental delay such as  

            communication or gross motor skills

Sometimes you may choose a topic that little has been written about. Try to think of a broader term that encompasses your topic. The more general the search, the more likely you are to retrieve additional records.

Broad = bodies of water         Narrow = ponds

When you enter a long phrase, some databases interpret this as if you were asking that all the words must appear in that exact order. Break up your keywords using the word ‘AND

                 smoking and depression and teens

                animals and therapy and children

Putting “quotes” around your search words tells the database that you are looking for that exact phrase.

"pet therapy"    "animal abuse"

Search for all alternate endings of a word. Type the root of the word and then an asterisk*