#1 Identify your question. Identify the key concepts and related terms. Tip: You may want to re-phrase your question. Background reading can help you identify related terms and further define or narrow your topic.
#2 Find an appropriate search tool. Consider your subject matter, discipline of study, type of information needed (e.g. peer reviewed articles)
#3 Start with a simple search based on your key concepts. Tip: You may also have to look at literature that refers to one (not all) aspects of your research question.
#4 Use specific search strategies.
#5 Search and skim results. Look for the language and terms that researchers use and that the database assigns to articles (Subjects).
#6 Switch up your searches. Use promising new terminology. Your search may become more sophisticated.
#7 Explore bibliographies and citing literature to locate other articles, books, or authors who have written on the same topic. Find known items. Tip: See "Find a Known Item" tab on this guide.
How does the impact of participation in extracurricular activities impact undergraduate student success?
Independent Variable: extracurricular activity participation
Defined by: participation in sports/ student government/ clubs & orgs; participation in academic-type activities vs. participation in sports-like activities
Dependent Variable: student success
Defined by: GPA, grades, pass/fall rates, graduation rates, class ranking
Brainstorming search terms? Ask, who, what, when, where, why & how?
Conducting a few test searches in library databases can help you locate the best search terms for your topic. When conducting a test search, look for additional terms in the article's:
Not sure what terminology is used by researchers to articulate the concepts related to your topic? Doing some background reading can help you become familiar with the terms used to discuss your topic.
Books and encyclopedias are great resources for locating a more general overview of a a topic.