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*Research in the Social Sciences

A guide for individuals researching in sociology, psychology, political science, and neuroscience.

The Basics of Searching for Resources

So, you have selected a research topic and it is time to start collecting resources that are relevant to your research. Taking time to develop an intentional search strategy will help you locate resources efficiently.

To do this, we use information search strategies like Boolean operators, nesting, truncation, and phrase searching.

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, relevant antonyms, antiquated terminology, or specific examples of the concept.

You can use single words (ex: balloon)
phrases with quotation marks (ex: "hot air balloons")
or truncate words with an asterisk to indicate all versions of the word (ex: balloon*)


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).


Let's Get Interactive!

Found a great resource?

Make that resource more useful!

 

Do cited reference searches to find researchers who cited that relevant source! Their research might be relevant to you as well, and it may even be more current.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mine the resource for references of previously-published sources the authors are citing, which might also be relevant to your research.