Use a Search Plan to approach your research strategically.
A search plan has three parts that work together to help you find your sources.
Where will you look for information?
Search tools may be open web, like Google, or "deep web" or "hidden web", like Library databases.
Some standard search tools for any topic or subject include:
How will you look for information? What techniques or hacks will you use in the tools you choose?
Some helpful strategies include:
What will you do as you search and start finding results?
You need to be:
Use these to find all types of source, including research starters (explainers), scholarly/academic sources and popular sources, such as news, magazines, books, and more.
Books and book chapters published by university presses are often overlooked scholarly sources. Try searching the ebook collections for more.
Librarian Favorite: Oxford University Press publishes scholarly topic explainers in their series, A Very Short Introduction.
Most people think of journal articles when they look for scholarly sources. To find these, use any Power Search Tool, or try one of these specialty tools.
Power Search Tools:
Need help using scholarly sources? Try these explainers.
Written for a general audience, magazine articles are shorter and easier to understand than scholarly articles.
Use any Power Search Tool to find them, or try one of these library databases.
Several library search tools contain images. These let you limit results to images.
See also our guide to finding and ethically reusing images.
Complete list of all available library search tools and research databases.