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.
- Create a list of keywords related to the topic that you are researching.
- Begin with a basic keyword search and see what kind of results you get.
- If you get too few results, try different keywords.
- If you get too many results, try more and/or different search terms or limit your results by date, publication type, and other criteria.
Many search engines are designed to recognize the Boolean operators and, or, and not. Use these terms in your database searches to reduce or increase your results.
and reduces search results.
- Arkansas and razorbacks: Will only bring back articles in which Arkansas and razorbacks both appear. Results will not include articles where only one of the two words is present.
or increases search results.
- Arkansas or razorbacks: Will bring back all articles in the database that mention Arkansas, all articles that mention razorbacks, and all articles that mention both Arkansas and razorbacks.
not reduces search results.
- Arkansas not razorbacks: Will only bring back articles that mention Arkansas and do not mention razorbacks. Results will not include articles where both words are present.