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!