This is the "Develop Search Strategy" page of the "Step by Step: Details of the Research Process" guide.
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Step by Step: Details of the Research Process   Tags: getting started, how to research, steps in research  

Use this guide to learn how how the research process works.
Last Updated: Aug 8, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Develop Search Strategy Print Page

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Search Strategy

Now that you have done the background reading and have a framework for understanding your topic, you should look at your thesis statement, [hypothesis, or research question] and translate it into a search strategy that can be used to find books and journal articles. 

1. Watch the Search Strategies video to learn how to set up an effective search strategy; 4 minutes well worth you time!

  • Identify the significant concepts in your question.
  • Idenfity synonyms and other related words for each concept. These become your keywords
  • Add connectors (and/or)

Example:  Do video games make children more violent?

2. Then use this Search Strategy Builder from the University of Arizona Libraries to develop your list of keywords.

3. Next, decide if you need books or journal (or magazine or newspaper) articles.

  • Use OneSearch Library Catalog for books
  • Search Database & Article Searching for articles

Optional: This  this blank worksheet may be required by your professor to create your own database search strategy.


Research Flowchart

  1. Select Topic
    1. Do Background Reading
    2. Narrow/Broaden Search
    3. Create Thesis Statement
  2. Develop Search Strategy
    1. Create list of keywords
    2. List questions to be answered
    3. Write a draft outline
    4. Search EUREKA to find books
    5. Search Databases & Article Searching for articles
    6. Don't forget to search the Web

    California State University, Sacramento | University Library | 2000 State University Drive East | Sacramento, CA 95819 | Phone: 916-278-5679


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