Brainstorm possible search terms
Break up long phrases into separate search terms.
ANDs and ORs and NOTs
Combine your search terms with these connecting terms (called "Boolean operators"). Use AND to narrow a search and OR to broaden a search.
Do preliminary searches before settling on a topic
Don't assume there will be a lot of information on your topic. Do a few searches before committing to a topic. You may find that you need to narrow or broaden your topic.
Focus on scholarly sources.
Use primarily scholarly or peer-reviewed sources. Such articles are typically not
freely available on the Web and cannot be found by searching Internet search engines like Google or Yahoo. See the Articles tab above and view this tutorial
to learn more.
Books vs. articles
Books may be helpful for background information and for familiarizing yourself with a topic. Articles can provide more current information and typically address a very narrow piece of a topic. The scope of your assignment will determine what types of sources are best.
Keep a log of your search process
Keep track of what sources and search terms "work" and which ones do not.
Cite as you go
Even if you're not sure whether you will use a source, it's much easier to note the citation information up front than to decide you need it later!