Western Libraries

MME9642 Library Support

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.

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:

A review paper can be really helpful in getting started - it synthesizes key research in your topic.  Some databases let you limit to review papers; e.g. in Engineering Village databases main search interface you can limit to 'treatment type' of 'General Review' or 'Literature Review'.

You can find articles and conference papers in the following databases:

Some articles and handbooks will provide you with data to work with.  Other times, you will need to find data on you own.  We list a few websites to try on our Finding Engineering/Science Data and Statistics page. Standards may also be useful.

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 (generally free of charge for Western users).