Also see the How to Conduct Academic Research library guide for more information about how to conduct research or take our Research Process tutorial here.
Image: "Online Library Orientation: The Research Process." Hillsborough Community College, 19 Mar. 2018, libguides.hccfl.edu/c.php?g=472755&p=3234350. Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.
A basic search is constructed using keywords, which together form your query.
The keywords you choose to include in your query will have a direct result on the search results.
Keys to conducting a good search include:
· Do some background research on your research topic to gather potential keywords and phrases. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and other reference materials will be helpful in learning the terminology used by professionals writing in the field.
· Conduct multiple types of searches. A keyword search will generally provide the most results, but not all results will be necessarily on topic. Try using a subject search, or try limiting your search by date or format. Use the Library of Congress system to find the cataloged items on a particular subject.
· Try searching a broad topic and then narrow down the search field by using supplementary links, and subject suggestions within the catalog & and the search within feature of the databases.
· Search multiple locations and look for a variety of sources. The SC4 catalog houses many formats including e-books, e-journals, streaming videos, DVD & VHS, reference books & circulating books. The library also subscribes to many academic databases, both broad in scope and subject specific.
· Combine words and phrases using the search strategies in this guide. Keep track of which terms you have searched, and of which combinations draw better results.
· Copy or save citations as you search for easier resource retrieval later.
These tips apply to all types of searching, whether you are using the SC4 Library Catalog, one of the Databases, or an Internet Search Engine.
If you need assistance, or feel a little lost – be sure to ask a SC4 Librarian for help!
Research game plan
Research can be a tricky, sometimes confusing process. If you're stuck, lost, or just have a question, please contact us!
Look for Ideas
Start by brainstorming some potential topics to explore further.
Now that you have a potential topic in mind, find out a little more about it to make sure it will work for you.
Test the Topic
Check library article databases, such as Academic OneFile, to see if journalists or scholars have written about your topic in the popular press or academic journals.
Scope of Topic
Finally, you'll need to find the right scope for your topic. If it is too broad or too narrow, you may have difficulty covering it adequately in the length assigned for your research project.
From the University of Texas at Austin, check out this search term generator - How to Generate Keywords
Text: "Choose a Topic." University of Texas Libraries, 21 Dec. 2017, guides.lib.utexas.edu/choosetopic.