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HDFS 637: Program Planning, Assessment, and Evaluation

Databases for Human Development and Family Sciences Scholars

Search Strategies

There are a few ways you can approach your research. The strategies you choose will depend on your topic, the databases you're using, and the type of reasearch you're conducting.

Keyword searching with boolean operators - Searching with 1-2 word phrases that describe your topic and combining them with the boolean operators AND/ OR. Use this strategy for most library databases since they don't have natural language search capabilities.

Natural language searching - Searching with long phrases or natural speaking patterns in the search bar. This works with AI tools and Google scholar.

Citation tracking - This strategy involves identifying an article closely related to your topic and tracking down both artilcles that the author has cited and other articles that cite the one the one that you've found. Google Scholar is often the best tool for this strategy because you can copy and paste a citation to search for it or use the "cited by" link beneath an article to pull up other articles that cite your original article.

Pronged search - Sometimes you'll need to research concepts separately, then use your knowledge to synthesize them in your project. To do this, you'll identify which concepts have been researched together and which ones have not. Then you can design your search to match that need. You may need the help of a librarian do design this search.

Google Scholar

When using Google Scholar, it helps to have the UD Get It link enabled to make finding your articles through the library easier.  

1) Go to google scholar and click on Settings Image of the settings icon

2) Click on Library Links from the left hand navigation column, type in University of Delaware, and check off the box next to Get It.

Screenshot of Google Scholar settings page with highlighting around Library Links, the search bar with the words "University of Delaware" Typed in, and the check box next to Get It.