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. "air pollution", "air quality"
2. Generate more results by joining synonyms or closely related terms together with OR. Remember OR means mORe.
Example: "Central Valley" OR "San Joaquin Valley" OR Fresno
3. Narrow results by adding dissimilar terms with AND.
Example: asthma AND agriculture
4. Use the asterisk (in many search tools) to truncate a term. This will look for different endings of the same word. e.g. pollut* will search for pollute, pollution, pollutants ...
5. Once completing a search, scan the results for other terms or phrases you may not have initially discovered. e.g. Searching for allergies may bring up airborne allergens.
6. View Subjects if available. These may also be called descriptors. These subjects are assigned to describe the citation/article. For example, a search for obesity in Academic Search Complete brings up descriptors including OVERWEIGHT persons, OBESITY in adolescence, OBESITY - treatment.