Encyclopedias and Reference Books
CQ (Congressional Quarterly) Researcher Plus Archive
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1. Choose a topic that interests you. Find background information to help you know more about your topic and to narrow your focus.
2. Think of a search strategy. What do you want more information on? Choose keywords you can use to search for your topic. Think of key concepts, synonyms, and related terms.
4. Evaluate. Modify your keywords or databases if you're not finidng good sources. Research is a process.
Using AND/OR/NOT (Logical Operators)
Use AND to focus your search and to combine different aspects of your topic.
Example: environment AND agriculture AND "Iran"
Use OR to expand your search and find synonyms/related terms.
Example: "global warming" OR "climate change"
Use NOT to exclude a word or phrase from your search
Example: tsunami NOT Japan
"Phrase search": Use quotation marks to search for a particular phrase. Example: "greenhouse gas emissions"
Truncation *: Use an asterisk to find variations of a word. Put an asterisk following the root of the word to find all variations of that word, including singular and plural. Example: environment* (finds environments, environmental, environmentalist, etc.)
(Grouping/Nesting Keywords): Use parentheses as a way to group all your search terms together. Example: (climate change or global warming) and population growth
Logical Operators (AND, OR, NOT): Capitalize logical operators AND, OR, NOT