Skip to main content

Learn the Library Session C: Help! I need to form a research question!

Participants will learn how identify information gaps to create a research question, determine the depth and scope of the question, seek multiple perspectives in information gathering.

Searching Tips

1) Start simple! Identify one to two terms or concepts that generally fit your topic. It's easier to narrow down, but harder to refine if you start with a restrictive search string.

2) Pay attention to the resource that you're in.

Is the word "dance" a redundant search term while exploring a dance journal? Probably.

However, if you're in a general database like "Academic Search Complete" that is multidisciplinary, "dance" is probably a required term to focus the results of your search

3) Sample search: "theatre audience" AND emotion

Databases operate in very similar ways, despite having interfaces that vary. Best rule is to type one phrase or concept per line.

4) Refine search after looking at results, and repeat. Be sure to consider synonyms. "ORing" gets you more results, "ANDing" reduces the number of results.

Sample search:

"theatre audience" OR "season ticket holder" 

AND emotion* OR reaction* 

AND storytell* OR music OR costum* OR technique OR design OR movement

5) Try truncation (asterisk that finds all suffix variants), and pay attention to alternative spelling (theatre vs theater) 

6) Read works cited lists and bibliographies to find more articles that might be useful

Print Page