Creating a search strategy helps researchers in many ways:
- a topic is established, helping in clarifying a need for information
- additional or related keywords can be utilized if certain ones do not yield the type of articles desired
- search results become refined and precise, resulting in relevant articles.
These are the main steps in creating a search strategy:
1. Define your topic in a complete phrase or sentence.
What is global warming, what is its cause and how can we control it?
2. Circle the keywords in your sentence.
global warming, cause, control
3. Generate synonyms for the keywords listed in #2.
Global warming: climate change, ice melting, El Niño, La Niña
Cause: reason, basis, explanation, source, origin
Control: manage, cope with, deal with, organize, direct, oversee
4. List the requirements for your articles (do they need to be scholarly, current within a certain number of years, or have other requirements?).
This assignment requires that articles not be older than 5 years old, must be from peer-reviewed article, and each must be at least 3 pages long.
5. Try some searches!
Download a Blank Search Strategy template in MS Word.