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Ever search for something and get hundreds of thousands of results, but then when you add more terms, you get zero?
It's happened to all of us!
A good rule of thumb is to always get your results under 80 before you look at them. Two ways to do that:
- Refine your topic - use the Visualize Your Topic tab to learn how to do that
- Use subject headings to search by topic, rather than specific words - see the tab Subject Headings for what these are & how to use them.
We strongly recommend making an appointment with a librarian for any questions along any point of this process. We'd love to work with you!
Schedule a Library Research Consultation
Meet with a Peer Coach to learn how to use our databases.
Meet with Frances Brady (Reference & Instruction Librarian) for topic refinement, resource evaluation, dissertation.
Vancouver campus: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Online campus: email: email@example.com
How do I start my research?
1. Visualize your topic
2. Search relevant database(s) for your topic
A. Use databases' subject headings
B. Combine terms
C. Refine your topic:
- Finding articles can be part of determining your topic!
- You might need to narrow or expand your initial topic.
D. Narrow or expand search, as needed
- Be sure results are under 80 to get relevant results
- Add another term
- Add limits
- If narrowing brings your results too low:
- Use another database
- Broaden your search terms
- Try citation chasing
3. Read the articles you find! Use what you read to locate more articles
4. Evaluate your resources.
5. Get organized! Save your citations & create your bibliography.
STEP 1 - Determine your topic
This guide was created by Frances Brady for Adler University.