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*GERO 4110/7110 Aging Policy & Services - BALL: Research Question ->
Search Strategy

Moving from a Research Question to a Search Strategy

Moving from a Research Question to an effective Search Strategy involves breaking down a Research Question into its Core Concepts, brainstorming alternative Keywords for those concepts, and then constructing an effective Search Strategy using Boolean operators, nesting, truncation, and phrase searching.  Here's an example, and you can use the Search Strategy Builder below for your own topic:

Now, we can copy and paste this Search Strategy into the database search field:

(“gender differences” OR “sex differences” OR gender OR sex) AND (alzheimers OR dementia) AND (“male caregiv*” OR “female caregiv*”)

Search Strategy Builder


Search Strategy Builder


The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into most databases’ search boxes.

Concept 1 AND Concept 2 AND Concept 3
Name your concepts here
Search terms Search terms Search terms
List alternate terms for each concept.

These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.

Use single words or short phrases

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

Now copy and paste the above Search Statement into a database search box.

The Search Strategy Builder was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries and is used under a Creative Commons License.

Research Question -> Search Strategy Worksheet

Here is a blank worksheet that you can use to break down your Research Question into its Core Concepts and then construct an effective Search Strategy using Boolean operators, nesting, truncation, and phrase searching.