When you begin looking for research sources within the library's search box or other library databases, your search results will only be as helpful as the KEYWORDS you have typed in your search box.
1. When considering your topic, you will need to come up with a list of possible keywords, search terms or phrases that are related to your topic. You will need to have a general understanding of your topic and be able to identify concepts that are relevant to your topic.
2. Once you have identified potential keywords, be prepared to combine those search terms in your database's search box to see specific sources of information that include the words you are searching for.
3. Look over your search results. Are there other search terms you could also use? Are there more specific keywords you could use? Does the database suggest other search terms?
4. Use the database features and tools to REFINE your search results to limit sources more specifically, by date range, for example.
5. Follow the clues! Continue to look at your search results and try different combinations of search terms until you find appropriate sources to use in your research project.
Need more help? Check out our library guide "We Have a Handout for That!"