|Identify your key concepts and related terms.||
Example: I am interested in what ecosystem services pollinators provide.
|Select appropriate search tools and/or sites.||
Databases > Subject > e.g. Natural Science > General Databases
|Construct a search. Start with keyword searching. Could be simple or using AND/Or (Boolean Operators). Join similar terms with OR. Join dissimilar terms with AND||
"ecosystem services" AND (pollinators OR pollination)
|Skim citation and abstract information to determine the usefulness of the source. Viewing an introduction or conclusion can be helpful too.||Sometimes a snippet in available on the results lists. You may have to click on the article titles, or click on a preview to see the abstract.|
|Revise search as needed. Too many or too few results? Is this a suitable search tool? Am I retrieving relevant results?||"ecosystem services" AND (pollinators OR pollination) AND (honeybees OR "honey bees")|
|Consider searching for certain terms in specific fields. e.g. Title field||
honeybees OR "honey bees" (Title) AND "habitat diversity" (All Fields)
|Use options to Limit or Refine e.g. by Date or Document type (original research articles, review articles ...)||e.g. Science Direct > Advanced Search > Journals tab > has a Limit by Document Type section|
|Find a highly relevant article and look for "Related Articles".||e.g. on full record in Science Direct, see "Related Articles" box at right|
|View bibliographies for references to other resources or organizations. Search for the known item or known organization.||e.g. I found a references in an article to this citation: Kremen, C., N. M. Williams, R. L. Bugg, J. P. Fay, and R. W. Thorp. 2004. The area requirements of an ecosystem service: Crop pollination by native bee communities in California. Ecology Letters 7:1109–1119.|
Identify the key concepts in your topic: How can precious metals in cell phones be recycled more effectively?
Brainstorm for related terms:
"rare earth elements"
Try Academic Search Complete > Subject Terms to find subject headings for your topic.
Databases use controlled vocabulary to index or tag articles and books. Successful searching is dependent on discovering what those words (terms) are.
Some databases have tools to help you find the controlled vocabulary terms. These terms usually include definitions. For example -->