Before diving right into a search, stop and take a moment to consider what type of resource you want to find. Do you need a book? A scholarly article? Do you need a blog written by or YouTube interview of an expert? Do you need raw data? Next, think about where that type of information might be found. Will a simple internet search locate what you need, or do you need another tool? Use the chart below to think about where you might find the information you need. If you're not sure where to start, this would be a great moment for you to contact me!
Additionally, you may need to think in terms of primary and secondary sources. For more on that, see the information below on interviews and the infographic.
Next, I'll give you some of the most common search tools below and some tips, but keep in mind that these are not one-stop shopping, nor are they one-size-fits-all.
Before you start entering any search terms, spend a few minutes trying to think of as many relevant terms and combinations of terms as you can. This will help you to avoid getting stuck in a rut with the first terms that come to mind.
If you need help in coming up with terms, you may want to try the "Thesaurus" or "Subject Headings" features in the database you've chosen.
Check out the "Help" or "Search Tips" to learn some of the search features specific to that database. Most databases provide similar features, but the methods may vary. Some common tricks:
Try the databases' Advanced Search feature, which usually gives you the ability to search multiple fields (author, title, keyword, subject, etc) with one search and may offer additional ways to expand or limit your search.
If your first search strategy does not work, try another approach. Remember that you can also get help from the library. Check out the links below.
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