Articulate your topic as a statement/question and select the main concepts in order to construct an effective research strategy.
Example research statement/question:
Animal experimentation is ethical because it is critical to the advancement and protection of human health and well-being.
Animal experimentation, ethical, and human health
Make a list of relevant keywords for each concept of the research topic/research statement/thesis statement.
Identify synonyms, related terms, or subject headings, when appropriate.
Animal experimentation <<<< Concept 1
Ethical <<<< Concept 2
Human health <<<< Concept 3
Combine the concepts with their keywords to construct a search strategy using the "AND" and "OR" operators.
(animal experimentation OR animal testing OR animal rights).
(ethical OR moral)
(human health OR well-being)
Access and conduct a search strategy in library database(s).
Example illustration of an initial search strategy using the Academic Search Complete database:
Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) connect keywords together to bring back more targeted search results. You will often see these capitalized in long search strings to see them more clearly.
See example of operators:
Truncation (often an asterisk*) will bring back words that start with the root word you provide. For example:
Phrase searching includes enclosing a phrase with quotation marks (" ").
For example: "genetically modified foods" OR "transgenic organisms" OR "genetically modified organisms"