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Basic Information: Developing a Search Strategy

Overview of library information and services.


Developing a search strategy will help you focus your research and retrieve the best information for your topic. View the tutorials below to learn how to develop a search strategy using searching techniques.

Search Tips

Remember these search tips when using journal article databases.

Quotation marks = search for phrases (two or more words): "united states" or "elementary education"

OR = more. Combine synonyms or similar terms to increase the number of results: group OR organization OR association

AND = narrow your results. Combine different concepts to narrow your search: students AND kindergarten


How to Develop a Search Strategy

1. Choose a topic.

2. Turn your topic into a research question. To help formulate your research question, ask yourself:

  • What do you already know about the topic?
  • What you do you want to know about the topic?

3. Choose keywords from your research question. Keywords are usually the main ideas or concepts in your research question.

4. Find synonyms for your keywords. Synonyms give you more options for search terms.

5. Start searching! Use your keywords and synonyms as search terms in databases and book catalogs.