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*GERO 8320 Psychology of Aging (Mingo): From Research Question
to Search Strategy

Example Research Question

Are there differences by race/ethnicity in depression among older adults?

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 core 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.

You can use single words, or phrases with quotation marks,
or truncated words with the *


OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

OR

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

The Search Strategy Builder was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries(CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).

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:

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*”)

Research Question to 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.