After topic selection, the next important step is determining which words or phrases to use in searching. Here are some tips to help you:
- Write down your topic. If it is a topic given to you by a teacher, write it in your own words to make sure you understand it.
- Now circle the main words in the topic. The circled words will be your initial search terms.
- Write down as many synonyms for your circled words as you can. You will probably need to do more than one search and these synonyms will help.
- Never just type your whole topic into a database search box. While this technique may work on Google, if used in online library catalogs or databases, it is guaranteed to fail.
- In your initial search, use the words you have drawn from your statement of your topic.
- Try combinations of terms from your list of synonyms, if necessary.
- Use only the words you need in searching. The more words you put into a search, the fewer records you will retrieve.