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Moving from a Research Question to a Search Strategy in 4 Steps
Moving from a research question to an effective search strategy involves breaking down the question into its Core Concepts, brainstorming Keywords, and then constructing an effective Search Strategy. You can do this in 4 steps.
1. Articulate your research question
Is union representation good for public employees in Oregon?
2. Break down your research question into its core concepts.
- Union Representation
- Public Employees
3. Now list alternative ways of describing these concepts.
Your list can include broader, narrower, and related concepts.
|Union Representation:||Collective Bargaining||labor union||labor dispute||SEIU|
|Public Employees:||workers||state worker||employee||staff|
|Oregon:||Pacific Northwest||Washington||United States||Portland|
4. Create multiple search strategies by combining words from your concept brainstorm list.
- Union AND employee AND portland
- (Labor Union OR collective bargaining) AND state work* AND oregon
- Use truncation (an * at the root of a word to find different word forms. For example, librar* will find libraries, librarian, librarians, etc.
- Use parentheses and the OR operator to "nest" your search--different terms/phrases that represent the same concept.
- Use quotation marks for phrase searching.
- Use Boolean operators to connect search terms:
- OR -- finds results with either or both terms -- it is used to broaden your search.
- AND -- finds results with both terms -- it is used to narrow your search.
Acknowledgement: The content in this box was based off of Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh's work at Georgia State University Library.