Search Strategy

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A guide for developing a keyword search

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Search Strategy

  1. 1. Preparing a Search Strategy
  2. 2. Identify your topic Example Topic: What is the danger of pesticide residue on produce for the health of children?
  3. 3. Find your keywords What is the danger of pesticide residue on produce for the health of children? • KEYWORDS: dangers, pesticide residue, produce, health, children
  4. 4. Analyze your keywords What is the danger of pesticide residue on produce for the health of children? Look at all the possible variations of your keywords and think of new ones: danger(s) pesticide(s) produce hazards “pesticide fruit(s) children illness residue” vegetable(s) health(y) kids food New keyword concepts: Environmental health Pesticides in food Organic
  5. 5. Find Subject Headings Look in the library catalog or Library of Congress Subject Headings for controlled vocabulary on your topic: • Pesticides in food • Pesticides--health aspects • Children’s health • Environmental health • Organically grown foods
  6. 6. Make Keyword Combinations Use boolean logic to combine your keywords: What is the danger of pesticide residue on produce for the health of children? danger or hazards or illness AND “pesticide residue” AND children or kids health AND organic AND food or produce or fruits or vegetables
  7. 7. Search Tips • avoid using phrase searching until you understand the database • don’t do a subject search unless you know the subject headings • start with a single word keyword search and see how you need to narrow your search • decide which keywords are essential for your search string • don’t forget about plural, singular, spelling and other variations on your search terms

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