It is important to map out how you will go about searching for research materials on your topic prior to beginning your search. Here is an example of a search strategy worksheet [PDF] that you may find helpful as you read through this page.
Steps for Creating a Search Strategy
1. Summarize your topic
2. Identify main concepts (keywords)
3. Identify synonyms, alternate words and/or related words
4. Try different combinations of keywords
Example: How does exposure to smokers affect children who have asthma?
What are the main concepts or keywords?
.....smoking, children, asthma
Think of synonyms, alternate words or/and related words.
.....secondhand smoke, smokers..... toddler, pediatric, child .... allergies, breathing problems
Develop your search strategy using the terms above.
Mix and match terms. If one keyword doesn't work, try to vary your keywords with synonyms.
Boolean operators help to narrow or broaden your search. The most useful are AND, OR, NOT which help to connect keywords or concepts.
You can use more than one Boolean connector in the same search statement:
Scholarly academic journals (such as Journal of Advanced Nursing orHarvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, for example) usually include longer articles, providing in-depth analysis of topics, and are written by professors or other experts in the field. The credentials and scholarly affiliations of the author(s) are usually listed.
Scholarly journal articles are often divided into standard sections such as abstract, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and bibliography (works cited). For scholarly journals, articles are peer-reviewed or critically examined and evaluated prior to publishing by a group of scholars or editors who are experts in their field.
Popular magazines (such as Newsweek or Sports Illustrated, for example) are usually written by staff journalists, who write articles of varying format and structure in language meant for a general audience. Popular magazines will tend to include advertising and color pictures rather than scholarly charts and graphs.
To find scholarly/peer-reviewed journals, try searching Academic Search Complete which is one of the library's general databases with many full-text articles. This database provides a limiting function to find only peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals. On the search page, check off the box labeled "Scholarly (Peer-reviewed) Journals".
The journals list can be searched by journal title to find out whether a particular journal title is available at McKillop Library in print or online. If a journal is available online, this list will tell you which library database contains the full-text, and for which years we have the full-text available.
If the full article is not available in our resources, then you can use interlibrary loan to request the article.
To access databases, ebooks, or other library resources from off-campus, you will be asked to enter the following information:
To search for articles on a certain topic, use a library database, which indexes a large variety of journals, magazines, and newspapers by subject.
Many of these databases also include the full-text of articles. Each database covers a different collection of magazines and journals, so you need to select a database that is relevant to your topic. To find suggestions of which database is useful for a certain topic, use the databases by subject list. Or you could start your research with a general multi-disciplinary database, such as Academic Search Complete. Once you are in a database, search by keyword to locate articles on your topic.
These are some popular article sources:
A citation is the information which identifies a book or article. Information for a book usually includes the author, title, publisher, city of publication, and date. The citation for an article usually includes the author, title of the article, title of the journal, volume, issue, pages, and date.
Search for journal titles: