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Research Strategies

Inquiry = the search for knowledge through questioning and investigating in order to develop new understandings
Inquiry can be self-directed for personal information gain or can be teacher-directed for academic information gain.
Creating a Search Strategy (in detail):
1. Know Your Topic 
2. Break your topic into one or more questions to help you begin to focus your search
3. Identify the best sources to start your search -- determine the best database(s), print, or people resources to help you answer your questions
  • A search engine may help you gather background information to begin -- beware that most results may not be relevant or valid
  • A digital encyclopedia will offer background information that has already been vetted by experts, but is more general in nature
4. Use your question to identify keywords 
  • Brainstorm additional keywords with synonyms (a thesaurus is helpful for this) 
  • If you have an article or another source of information to help you get started:
    • skim it for additional keywords
    • look at the citations for other possible sources
5. Plan how you want to put together your keywords to help narrow your search
  • Use Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) and () to contain different parts of your search or " " to search for exact phrases
    • ex: (Dress OR Fashion) AND "Middle Ages"
6. Gather articles & other types of information found into a folder for easy reference. Be sure the complete citation is included as part of the article or in a separate document