Developing Search Strategies
Select keywords from the research topic
- Find synonyms or related terms for each the keyword.
- Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) to connect 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 to help you develop your search strategies.
Finding Information on Your Topic
General background information:
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 helpful in getting started. They synthesize key research on the topic and are written by experts in the field. Review articles are published in academic journals and can be found in databases.
Primary information sources, such as articles and conference papers:
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.
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.
GeoRef is the most comprehensive database in the geosciences. It covers the geology of North America from 1669-present and the geology of the rest of the world from 1933-present. The database includes references to all publications of the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, in publication since 1973, covers significant developments in all areas of earth and planetary sciences, from climate, environment, and geological hazards to the formation of planets and the evolution of life.
EarthArXiv provides free, open-access, open-source archives for the Earth Sciences. It offers a preprint home for all Earth science domains and sub-domains as well as computational data and instrumentation research relevant to the Earth sciences.
The Earth and Space Science Open Archive from the American Geophysical Union was established to accelerate the open discovery and dissemination of Earth and space science early research outputs, including preprints and posters presented at major scientific meetings.
Need registration to use the following database:
The Finding Dissertations guide will help locate dissertations and theses.
The Earth Sciences Library Guide suggests more resources.
What if the library doesn't have an article or book you want? Use the Interlibrary Loan / RACER system to request it from another library, 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.