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?
Explore these helpful strategies.
The words you choose matter; select search terms with care. Avoid putting your search in the form of a question.
Put 2 or more words inside quotation marks to turn them into a single word; so "black cat" looks for results with these 2 words as a phrase. Without the quotation marks, the tool will look for the words black and cat anywhere in the results.
Search tools usually make suggestions for keywords and search terms as you type in the search box - Use them!
Overwhelmed by search results? Limit by picking filters such as date or source type (academic journal, ebook, etc.).
What will you do as you search and start finding results?
You need to be:
Add Quotation Marks to search for an exact phrase or words in a specific or EXACT order. An exact phrase will return more accurate results because it snaps all of the words together, turning it into a phrase that must be found exactly in that order.
Example: emergency nurse vs. "emergency nurse"
Apply filters to limit your search results. Because they limit your results, filters might also be called limiters. The most common and helpful filters to limit your results are:
Some search tools like CINAHL Complete have specialized filters to help you. Use Advanced Search to filter by:
Create a list of keywords associated with your topic.
What else could it be called (synonyms)? What describes it specifically (hyponyms)? What is it related to broadly (hypernyms)?
Example: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Topics can be narrowed or broadened depending on the use of search terms.
Broader: lung disease