Video

Please watch the following video (3:11) to learn about creating a search strategy for library-related research.

Imagine you've chosen the perfect research topic for a final assignment. It's something that you're really interested in and you're ready to dive into the database and find articles on the topic. Before you jump right in, it would be helpful to consider a search strategy. Your choice in terms can mean the difference in finding what you need, and finding nothing at all. This video will show you how.

Suppose you're interested in the following question about cryptocurrencies. We've been taught to search for this type of information by simply asking questions on the web. Typing this into a web browser or library database is not the best way to find appropriate peer-reviewed information for your assignment. To get the most out of research databases, you need to search in a particular way. A more effective strategy is to break down your search topic. First, identify the key concepts in your topic or question Disregard other words that are not central to the topic at hand. These will just get in the way. Second, think about synonyms for key concepts. Ask yourself, are there other words or acronyms you can use to describe these key concepts? Finally, put it all together with Boolean operators. Like AND, OR, and NOT.

Use AND to connect different concepts together, like cryptocurrency AND AND mining AND environment. Use OR to connect similar concepts together like cryptocurrency OR blockchain OR currency examples, like bitcoin OR Ethereum. Use NOT to exclude specific concepts, like including bitcoin but NOT result Ethereum. Using AND will result in a more specific or limited search. Using OR will expand the number of results. using not will limit the number of results.

Putting it all together, your search might look something like this: But remember: There's no perfect search. Finding relevant results will take time and practice. You will change your search multiple times as you find more material. You may find that you have to be more specific to narrow down your results. Or you may have to be more general to widen your search.

It can be really frustrating working with all the different types of information out there. If you ever need a helping hand, just reach out to a librarian. We're here to help.

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