Now that you have identified your research topic and have achieved a manageable scope, it's time to begin exploring your topic and finding some information to use in your essay. This module will focus on topic investigation and in order to investigate your topic further, you'll need to come up with some search terms or "keywords" to use while searching a database.
We go through this process because the terms you have used in your research question statement may or may not be the same words that others use when they report on their research findings.
For example, we may be interested in finding out about how depression affects teens and smoking. The term "teen" might be problematic in a database search because there are so many words that mean roughly the same thing, like "teenager", "adolescent", and "young adult" just to name a few. Thinking about your search terms and coming up with a list of keywords will help you locate those materials that are the best and most relevant sources for your project.
After completing this module, you should be able to:
Identify the definition of a search term or "keyword" within the research context.
Brainstorm keywords and related terms for your research topic in preparation for searching online databases.
Identify the definition of Boolean operators, and the function of the AND and OR operator in a search strategy.
Construct a search strategy making use of Boolean operators.