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ENGL 1020: English Composition 1020

This guide will help you devise a search strategy from a research question, find resources, and get through that big paper.

Search Strategies

plan your search effectively: strategize a plan

Tutorial 2: Search Strategies

Develop a game plan for getting started on your research project, isolate the keywords in your research question or topic, brainstorm more keywords by searching, and combine keywords using Boolean logic.

Keywords and Logic

  • Keywords represent main ideas and concepts in a research topic. 

    • You start with a research topic or question, but to search, you need keywords. 
    • As you read background information about your topic, take note of keywords related to your topic to help you create a search strategy.
    • You can also use the library catalog to brainstorm for keywords.
  • There are four types of keywords that can be helpful to consider, depending on your topic.

    • Narrow - For example, corn is a narrower word for food.
    • Broader - And dog is a broader word than chihuahua.
    • Related - Education is related to testing and common-core standards.
      • They have a relationship, but aren't the same thing.
    • Similar - Teenager is similar to "young adult."
  • Brainstorming keywords gives you opportunities to search multiple ways, to discover different results. You'll be amazed what outcomes a little tweak in your "logic" will dig up. 

Use QuickSearch to Brainstorm Keywords

  • QuickSearch
  • Journal Titles
  • Databases
Search UM Libraries
Search for books, articles, media, and more:
Search UM Libraries
Find Journals, Newspapers, and Magazines by Title or ISSN:
Search UM LibrariesFind a Database Using Title or Keywords: 

Most Used Databases: