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.
Steps in creating a search strategy:
1. Define your topic in a complete phrase or sentence.
Using animals in therapy can reduce stress in children and adults with autism.
2. Identify the keywords in your sentence.
Animals; Therapy; Stress; Children; Adults; Autism
3. Generate synonyms for they keywords listed in #2. Synonyms can be related persons or concepts.
Animals and Therapy: Pet Therapy; Animal-Assisted Therapy (professional term); Therapy Animals (Dogs, Equinine, etc.)
Stress: Distress; Mental Health (broader term)
Adults: Seniors (or specific age groups); Mature; Maturity
Children: Youth; Juveniles; Adolescents (or specific age groups)
Autism: Autism Spectrum Disorders (professional term); Pervasive Developmental Disorder
4. List the requirements for your articles (e.g., range of publication date; type of source; number; due date):
Find 3 peer-reviewed articles based on quantitative or qualitative research studies published within last 10 years.
Due Date: End of the month
5. Try some searches using different combinations of your keywords, synonyms, or other controlled language/ thesaurus terms!