Research Help

Basic research information at your fingertips!

A Search Example

Here's a search done step-by-step!

1. Define your topic. 

      Example - My topic is growing tomatoes in a home garden. 

2. Choose the keywords that describe this topic.

      Example - some of my keywords would be "tomatoes", "garden", and a key phrase might be "growing tomatoes".

3. Determine whether there are synonyms, related terms, or other variations of the keywords that should be included.

      Example - related term: "vegetable gardening"; variation: "tomato"; synonym: "cultivation"

4. Choose where you're going to search

      Example: GIL, GALILEO, the internet using Google or Bing

5. Check to see if where you are searching requires special functions to search effectively.

      Example:  Some sites require you use Boolean searches.  And sometimes sites require you to put phrases in quotation marks: instead of civil war, you would type "civil war". 

6. Evaluate the results. How many hits were returned? Were the results relevant to your query?

      Example - I typed in "tomato" and got all sorts of results that talked about different kinds of tomatoes, and tomato recipes.  That's not what I'm looking for, so I need to add a second word to narrow my search.  I try typing "tomato" and "garden" to see what I get!

7. Modify your search if needed. Go back to steps 2 and 3 and think of other words, other combinations of words, or create new phrases.

8. Try the same search in other places!

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