Part 3. Develop your Search Strategy

Key Takeaway

Research is an iterative process that involves asking increasingly complex questions whose answers will lead to revised questions or new lines of inquiry.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Develop a search strategy in order to use research tools more efficiently
  • Implement key features of library search tools to improve search results

Navigation: How to move around this tutorial

This module should take roughly 15 minutes to complete. You will be able to revisit the text and activity portions as many times as you like; however, you will only have one opportunity to do the quiz, linked in Moodle, at the end of each part.

Use the arrows at the bottom of each page to move forward and backward through the modules. Or, use the Contents menu in the top left hand corner to go to a particular section.



You’ve developed a research question. You have an idea of what kinds of sources you need and what is required by your assignment. Now it’s time to consider how you will build a search strategy that will allow you to use the library’s resources most efficiently.

It’s useful to understand that the research process is iterative, which means the results of initial searches will help shape and improve your subsequent searches. You will likely perform a sequence of searches several times and use various tools, including Google and library resources, before getting a set of results that will meet your needs.

Your search strategy should consist of the following:

  1. keyword searching
  2. examining the results of initial searches
  3. using filters or limits
  4. citation tracking
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Doing Research Copyright © 2019 by Celia Brinkerhoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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