Designing Search Strategies
- Select keywords from your research topic
- Find synonyms or related terms for each of the keyword you identified above
- Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) to connect your keyword; 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
You can use the Search Strategy Worksheet below to help you develop your search strategies.
- Literature Review tutorial
- Analyze and critically evaluate past research
- Organize the content by theme not by article/book
- Be selective (5-10 articles)
- Cite properly to avoid plagiarism
Finding background information for your thesis project
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:
Shared Library Catalogue
Use the Shared Library Catalogue with Western Libraries and the Affiliated University College Libraries to find books (print and online) on your topic.
CRCnetBASE offers instant access to the world's premier scientific, technical and medical references with added support for libraries.
Find trade publication articles using:
Note: On the ProQuest search interface, you can search both databases at the same time by clicking on "Select multiple databases" on the upper left.
Find scholarly journal articles using:
Use Ulrich's Periodicals Directory to find out if journal is peer-reviewed
Access the full text of articles
- Click at the Get it @ Western button to try to get fulltext online. If Get it @ Western doesn't get you fulltext, search the library catalogue's holdings by Journal Title.
- If the journal issue or conference proceeding isn't in the library catalogue, search for it on the web. You may be able to get it for free.
- If all else fails, order the article through InterLibrary Loan (RACER) (free for most items for Western users).