Research Assistance - Search Strategies

Search strategies

As you begin your research, the following strategies may be of help

Choosing your topic

  • It’s always best to start with something that interests you.
  • What have you been reading or talking about with others?
  • Has anything caught your eye in books, magazines, or newspapers?
  • Try searching online for a list of research topics.

Ask yourself the following questions

  • What do you already know about your topic?
  • What topic interests you?
  • What subject area does your topic fall into? (ex. History, Science, Literature)
  • In what ways can you describe your topic?

When gathering your resources, keep in mind:

  • What kind of assignment or research paper you have to complete
  • What types of research materials are required for your project (journal, magazine, or newspaper articles, books, etc.)
  • How much time you have to complete your assignment

When should you use keywords, subject headings, phrases, or single words when searching

  • Keywords give you a broad search with more results and can be useful when you are brainstorming or starting to research your topic.
  • Subject headings give you more specific results.
  • Phrases or single words require you to be more specific about your topic and will narrow your search results.

What are Boolean Operators?

  • AND – combines search terms so the search results contain all the terms used
  • OR – combines search terms so the search results contain at least one of the terms used
  • NOT – excludes terms so the search results do not contain any of the terms that follow it
  • Using more than one Boolean Operator in a search string will give you more specific results

Contact Info

320.308.5000 or 1.800.222.1009

1540 Northway Drive
St. Cloud, MN 56303