Though searching can be a messy process, designing a search strategy can make finding good sources for your research paper easier. Below are suggested steps to think through in the search process: choosing a topic; developing a search strategy; choosing the right database; finding articles; and organizing sources.
The first step in the search process is to choose a topic. Choosing a topic you are curious about and interested in will make the research process easier and more enjoyable.
Searching can be difficult, but beginning with a search strategy can make your database searches more successful. Start with brainstorming keywords.
Once you have a topic and keywords, select a database to find books and articles. For books, use the OSCAR library catalog. For articles, select a library database, starting with some of the recommended databases on this guide. You can also browse the Database by subject list on the library web page.
Search is sometimes referred to as cycle. In other words, you often will need to search multiple times and in many different places. You might modify or adjust your topic, brainstorm new keywords, and try searching in additional databases. Repeating your search strategy can help you find additional and more refined sources.
The final step in the search process is to organize your sources for the writing process. By organizing and annotating the sources you have find, you will save time and improve the quality of your research paper.