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Search Strategy

Search Strategy Information  1. Identify your research topic or research question.  Be specific, not general.  For example:

How has fast food contributed to the childhood obesity epidemic?


2. Divide your research topic or question into basic key ideas, called “concepts.” Example:

  • fast food
  • children
  • obesity


3. Write other words or phrases that might be used for each concept; put quotes around phrases (multiple words to be searched together, e.g. “fast food”); write OR between different words or phrases for each concept.  Example:

  • "fast food"
  • children OR teens OR "young people" OR adolescents
  • obesity OR overweight

Search Strategy InformationHow to use the Article Databases on the Library Website

Search for high quality academic sources using the Search page:

  1. To search for more than one "concept", click 'Advanced Search' below the Search box.
  2. Type the search word(s) for one concept related to your topic. Type an OR between synonymous words for the same concept, e.g. children OR teens OR "young people" OR adolescents
  3. Repeat the same step in subsequent search boxes for additional concepts.
  4. Click 'Search'.
  5. In the results, click a source title to see detailed information and an article summary.
  6. Click on a 'Full Text' link at the upper left side of the page.
  7. Email an article by clicking 'Email' at the right of the article.
  8. Include a formatted article citation by selecting your desired format (e.g. MLA) in the email dialog box.
  9. Click 'Search' in the 'Google' box on the right column to repeat your same search in Google.

Google Tips

  • Use quote marks (“ ”) around search phrases, e.g., “fast food”
  • Use OR between words for the same concept, e.g., children OR teens OR "young people" OR adolescents
  • Limit searches to sites from a specific web domain (e.g., site:.edu, site:.gov )
  • Limit searches to a specific website, e.g., site:nytimes.com will limit a search to the NY Times website
  • Limit by time period by clicking on 'Search Tools' at the top of the results page and the 'Any Time' pull-down menu