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Hilton C. Buley Library

 

Guide to the Research Process: Step 1: Search Strategy

Use this guide to help you make your way through a research project from start to finish!

Starting the Research Process

1. Choose a topic. (Sometimes your professor will choose for you.)

2. Formulate a question about your topic that your research will try to answer. (It's easier to sort through resources if you're looking for stuff that will help you answer a question.)

3. Pick out keywords from your question and find synonyms for those keywords. (Use the Search Strategy Builder on the right to help you!)

4. Combine your keywords and synonyms in a search string that databases and search engines can understand. (This means using Boolean operators [AND, OR, NOT], putting phrases in quotes, grouping ORs into parentheses... again, the Search Strategy Builder can help you!)

Search Strategy Builder

 

Search Strategy Builder


The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into most databases’ search boxes.

Concept 1 AND Concept 2 AND Concept 3
Name your concepts here
Search terms Search terms Search terms
List alternate terms for each concept.

These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.

Use single words or short phrases. Surrounding the phrases with quotation marks will give better results in some databases and search engines, like Google Scholar. Example: "global warming"

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

Now copy and paste the above Search Statement into a database search box; use the EBSCO search box below or choose another Database.

The Search Strategy Builder was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries and is used under a Creative Commons License, via Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh at Georgia State.