1. Identify your information need
For beginning your search for research articles, consider your research question and identify the key concepts or variables. Often, your question will have an independent and a dependent variable:
Does bullying impact how a teenager performs in school?
Concept 1: Bullying
Concept 2: School performance
Concept 3/Population: Teenager
Also, consider the other criteria; for example: Do you need peer-reviewed articles? Do you need the most recent research or an overview of how the research has evolved over time?
2. Define your terms
Do any of the concepts need to be operationalized or more focused?
For example, what does "school performance" mean? We'll need to decide if we want to look at academic achievement (measurable via grades, graduation rates, etc. or something captured via an instrument or survey (like strong social networks).
3. Brainstorm synonyms or related terms that might be helpful for the search
Concept 1: Bullying, harrassment
Concept 2: Academic achievement, grades, high school completion
Concept 3/Population: High school students, Adolescents
Before you start searching for resources, take a few moments to think of the relevant terms that you might want to search with. This will help you build and revise your search.
This one-minute video provides an example of brainstorming keywords from a research question.