Whether you are searching for books in the Five College Library Catalog, or searching for scholarly articles in a library database,
it pays to be organized as you start your search. Break down searching into a three step process.
Write down as much information about your topic as possible. Answer the following questions:
Then, try to summarize what you are looking for in one or two sentences.
EXAMPLE: I would like to measure or analyze some behavioral tasks performed by mice, specifically C57 and 129
strains of mice, using the following kinds of tests: Barnes maze; open field test; elevated plus maze, rotarod.
Using the information in Step 1, list the main concepts of your topic.
EXAMPLE: mice, tests, types of behavior
Now create a list of synonyms of your key concepts. Think broadly, think narrowly! This step is helping you expand
your search by expressing your query in a variety of ways. If you get too many results, then you can work on focusing your search.
open field test
elevated plus maze
Terms to add if needed:
You will use the word lists you developed in Step 3 to create search strategies. Use "OR" between synonyms --
"AND" between concepts. For instance:
(mice OR c57*) AND (barnes maze) AND memory
Watch video (3 minutes): Crafting a Savvy Search Strategy (UCLA Library)