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The Research Process: Step 2

An overview of the Research Process, which includes information about search strategies, how to choose and refine topics, kinds of resources, and citing sources

Worksheets

Download Worksheets (PDF) detailing The Research Process.  To view the file, you will need Acrobat Reader, which you can download for free from Adobe.

Develop Research Vocabulary

To dramatically increase the relevancy and usefulness of the information you find, you should conduct multiple searches using different search language. To this end, it is helpful to create a list of possible search terms. Remember that even an "s" on the end of a word can make a difference in your search results.

  • As you research, add to this list any words or phrases you commonly see.
  • Use a thesaurus (for example, thesaurus.com) to find synonyms and other vocabulary.
  • Mark each word or phrase on your list as a synonym for your topic, a broader topic, a narrower topic, or a related topic.

Create Search Strings

Please note: when searching, avoid using connective words (like and, but, or), articles (like a, an, the), and other very common words; try to use only nouns and verbs.

CREATE SEARCH STRINGS:

Main terms go down.  Synonyms or related terms for each go across.

 

OR

 

OR

 

AND

 

OR

 

OR

 

AND

 

OR

 

OR

 

 

Example: to find information about working as a librarian at a college

librarianship

OR

libraries

OR

librarians

AND

career

OR

jobs

OR

profession

AND

college

OR

university 

OR

higher education

 

Research Assistance

More ways to get help:

Library photo courtesy of Barry Halkin Photography