1. Choose what you plan to write about then take notes that briefly describe your topic. Write your topic either as a question you would like to explore or a statement you would like to support.
I plan to write about teenager with sleep problems related to drinking caffeinated beverages
2. Identify the main ideas or keywords in your topic description. These main ideas will be the search words you use to search your topic (also known as the keywords). The main ideas are not complete sentences and should only include 1-4 words.
The Keywords are:
If my keywords are:
What words could I search instead that are similar or related, and that could be boarder terms or narrower terms?
Notice in the example above some of the search words is broader or more general and some narrower. So if you have two many search results add a narrow keyword. Not enough? Add a broader keywords.
Most often we use Google to search for information, but the information we need to complete our work is not always freely available on the web. Sometimes searching a library database is a more effective use of time. Searching library databases require using a slightly different search structure to effectively locate the information you need. The information in this section will help you build effect database searches so you can more effectively use our OneSearch database and other databases too.
Searching databases requires a little more search structure than our average Google Search.
Always try more than one search!
You can combine your keywords using AND, OR & NOT
For more about structuring your searches in databases using AND, OR, & NOT (what librarians call Boolean Logic), watch the following videos:
Want assistance constructing your search? Ask a Librarian
Our library has access to more than 50 databases, many of them tailored for specific fields such as art, business, literature, medicine, and psychology.
We have a complete list of our databases listed alphabetically or by subject on our library website.
Not sure what database to choose?
OneSearch provides simple, one-stop searching for books and e-books, videos, articles, digital media, and more; it combines the contents of many of the databases our library subscribes to.
To Find books & articles in our library, use the search strategies in the
Database Searching - Structure your search.