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HON 350 - Research Seminar

Resources to help you begin preparing for your Honors Thesis

The Basics

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 below 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 (Keywords)    
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 String into a search box; try SouthernSearch 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.

Revising Your Research Question

As you conduct your research, you may realize that the question you're asking is misguided, not very interesting, or impossible to answer. What's a student to do??

Change your research question!

Revising your research question based on knowledge gained from research is all part of the process. You may need to inform your professor of this development, but don't be afraid to change course.