A search strategy is an organized method to retrieve information about a specific topic. Use the techniques described below to become a better researcher.
Keyword Searching: In databases and search engines, it is possible to do a broad search for information by typing in a term which you feel describes your topic and using it as a keyword. Every occurrence of your keyword from all the searchable fields will be found. The searchable fields could include the full-text of an article or an entire web page.
You may retrieve a large number of hits. Look carefully at a couple of the relevant hits to get ideas for other terms which could help you refine your search. Keyword searching can be time consuming and exhausting because it is such a broad method of searching. Remember: Finding too much information is just as problematic as finding too little information.
How can you refine a search? The best thing about databases is that they contains records with fields that can be sorted, arranged, and searched. When confronted with many results in a first broad keyword search, you can narrow your search by limiting it to specific fields, like the subject field.
Searching Subject Headings: Subjects are created from a "controlled vocabulary" by a human after carefully reading or looking at the item. Each item will have only a few subject terms which must be chosen from a list of allowable subject headings, a controlled vocabulary. If you find one book or article that meets your needs, look at the subject assigned. It may not be what you expect. Often these are highlighted links.