Your Search Strategy

Library database research does not have to be intimidating! The following are tips that can help you have a more successful research session!

1. Think about your keywords.

Keywords are the search terms you use to find literature on your topic. Often times, you will have multiple search terms that you can combine and try in order to find material. For example, if you were doing your literature review on COVID-19 vaccine distribution your keywords may include:

  • COVID-19 or coronavirus or COVID
  • vaccine or vaccinations or inoculations or shots or immunizations
  • distribution or administration
  • production

Notice how it is helpful to think of synonyms or like words for keywords. You may not be sure how researchers in the field refer to certain concepts until you start exploring the research.

2. Write down the keywords that you've tried.

If you are doing an in-depth literature review, you are going to be conducting multiple research sessions. It can be helpful to write down what keywords and search terms returned useful results. You can do this in any way you prefer...on a piece of paper or in a Word document!

3. Look at the titles and information of literature that is useful to you.

Look at the words that researchers use in their work. If you see a certain term come up over and over again, you might want to add it to your keyword list to try a search.

4. Citation chasing is your friend!

Find Scholarly Articles

To start, you can try searching in OneSearch, which is our search platform that searches in our library catalog and nearly half our databases at one time. 

If you want to get more specific, you can take a look at our list of databases, which lists all of our databases including a description of the resources you can find in them.

Print Books & eBooks

Books provide in-depth coverage on a topic and have a broader focus than articles. You can look at book chapters to help you navigate through a book more quickly and find the information you need. 

The UHV Library has both physical books and electronic books. You can find both through the library catalog.

Dissertations & Thesis

Dissertations are written by students, often as a requirement for a Masters or Doctorate degree. They tend to be longer than scholarly articles. Dissertations can be great sources, especially for new perspectives/research on certain topics.