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Cardinal Newman High Library Instruction: Search Strategies

Use these resources to assist you with your research.

Resources for Students

Resources for students: 

Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Journals

Scholarly journals have articles written by researchers who are considered experts in a field. These journals are also known as "peer-reviewed," "refereed" or "academic" journals.  American School Board Journal is a scholarly journal.

Popular magazines have articles written by writers or journalists. Time and Newsweek are examples of popular journals.

Need help? Click here.

Creating a Basic Search Strategy

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!

Evaluating Information

If you are not using the FAU databases, you need to consider some questions when evaluating information from the Internet:

  1. How current is the information?
  2. How reliable is the information?
  3. How authoritative is the source of information?
  4. How accurate is the information?
  5. How relevant is the information to my topic?