How can I develop a search strategy?

Answered By: Norma Menabney
Last Updated: Jan 13, 2017     Views: 77

Developing effective search skills will enable you to locate relevant information and avoid the frustration of being overwhelmed by hundreds of irrelevant search results.

It helps to be clear about the subject of your search which will often involve more than one topic. To do this try to form your research question into a sentence or two. Then you can select the key words, phrases or concepts. For each of these, identify alternative terminology. Similarly to a thesaurus e.g. teenager, adolescent, young person etc

Other considerations for your search strategy include the type of publication and date range. For an academic piece of work, you will want to ensure you find academic peer reviewed journal articles. If you are only interested in articles before, after or between certain years, you will be able to use this element of the strategy to focus your results.

Finally, you’ll need to identify the databases you want to use. Your subject LibGuide provides a list from which you can select the most appropriate.

Subject Librarians are happy to provide advice on developing search strategies and selecting and searching appropriate databases for your research.

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