Developing Search Strategies
- Select keywords from your research topic
- Find synonyms or related terms for each of the keywords you identified above
- Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) to connect your keywords; Combine concepts using AND, and combine alternate terms within a concept using OR
- Select search tools (library catalogue, databases, etc.)
- Conduct your search
- Review your search results and revise your search if necessary
Use the Search Strategy Worksheet in the Library Handout to help you develop your search strategies.
Finding information on your topic
If you are new to your topic or would like to start by reading some more general background information, here are some good places to start:
Use Omni to find books (print and online) on your topic from Western Libraries and the Affiliated University College Libraries
Note: Review articles, an important source of background information, can be really helpful in getting started: They synthesize key research on your topic, and normally are written by experts in your fields. Review articles can be found in databases.
You can find primary information sources, such as articles and conference papers, in the following databases:
MathSciNet is a comprehensive database covering the world's mathematical literature since 1940, providing Web access to the bibliographic data and reviews of mathematical research literature contained in the Mathematical Reviews Database.
Project Euclid Prime
Project Euclid hosts 1.8 million pages of open-access content in mathematics and statistics, and over 70% are openly available.
Scopus is a navigation tool covering the world's largest collection of abstracts, references and indexes of scientific, technical, and medical (STM) literature. Seamless links to full-text articles and other library resources make Scopus quick, easy, and comprehensive.
Web of Science
The Web of Science provides seamless access to current and retrospective multidisciplinary information from approximately 8,700 of the most prestigious, high-impact research journals in the world.
IEEE Xplore Digital Library
The IEEE Explore Digital Library provides web access to more than four-million full-text documents from some of the world's most highly-cited publications in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics.
Check Finding Dissertations guides for theses and dissertations.
What if the library doesn't have an article or book you want? Use the Interlibrary Loans system to request it from another library (generally free of charge for Western users).
Research Process Toolkit
The tutorial toolkit is a collection of Western Libraries tutorials specific to the research process. Organized as a step by step series from the beginning to the end of the research process, this toolkit helps equip undergraduate students with essential research skills along with the knowledge of various ways the Library can help.