1. Think about the main concepts of your topic. Extract these. e.g. chicana / chicano people, gender identity, educational attainment, voting, etc.
2. Then think about the specific terms that describe your main concepts. When you have a term such as education, what other words or phrases might describe it or be examples of it? e.g. degree, college, university, "high school", student, graduate program etc.
Once you have some keywords associated with your topic AND you have found appropriate search tools/databases, you are ready to begin searching. Here are some basic search strategies to consider.
1. Look for a phrase by using quotation marks. This will make your search more specific. e.g. "gender identity"
2. Generate more results by joining synonyms or closely related terms together with OR. Remember OR means mORe.
Example: chican* OR "mexican-american"
3. Narrow results by adding dissimilar terms with AND.
Example: sleep AND exercise
4. Use the asterisk (in many search tools) to truncate a term. This will look for different endings of the same word. e.g. chican* will search for chicano, chicana, chicanos, etc.
5. Once completing a search, scan the results for other terms or phrases you may not have initially discovered. e.g. Searching for behavior principles may bring up cultural sensitivity.
6. View Subjects if available. These may also be called descriptors. These subjects are assigned to describe the citation/article. For example a descriptor in Academic Search Complete is Public Health Communication.