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Introduction

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The key to obtaining good information for your project is to develop an effective and systematic search strategy. Search strategies are based on a clear understanding of the relationships between the primary and secondary concepts of your topic and a working knowledge of the terms that describe these concepts.

This module will guide you in identifying:

  • the concepts that comprise your topic
  • the terms which describe those concepts
  • the relationships between those concepts
  • search strategies for the most commonly used access tools

For this module

Before you begin

The Information Skills Modules can be used independently of one another. However, before you begin this module you will need the know the following:

  • Your topic and thesis statement or organizing principle
  • Your research questions, that is what do you need to know
  • Which specific access tools you need to use

If you do not yet have a topic, a thesis statement or organizing principle and have not yet formulated research questions about your topic, the information in Choosing and focusing a topic will be helpful to you.

If you do not know which access tools to use, the information in Selecting information resources will be helpful to you.

Goal

The end product of this module is a working bibliography of relevant and potentially useful articles, books, graphics, statistics, web sites, etc. Although nothing will have been physically retrieved, you should have a list of relevant and potentially useful items.

Learning objectives

After completing this unit, you will be able to:

  • Identify the primary concept of your topic
  • Identify the secondary concepts of your topic
  • Identify the relationships between concepts
  • List keywords, synonyms and/or related terms for each concept
  • Write a search statement
  • Select relevant items from your search results
  • Revise search statements to obtain better results

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