Search Strategy

It is important to develop your search strategy before using the electronic databases or searching on the Internet.  Organizing your search terms will make your search more efficient and productive, and will save you time.

1. Write down your topic.

The Enron collapse and its accounting practices.
2. Underline the major concepts in your topic and write one concept on each of the provided "concept lines".
Concept 1: Concept 2: Concept 3:
enron

OR

collapse

OR

accounting

OR

 

 Search Formula: Concept 1 AND Concept 2 AND Concept 3

3.  Write down similar terms that describe your concepts.  Use the on-line thesaurus or index if available.
Concept 1: Concept 2: Concept 3:
enron

OR

 

collapse

OR

fall


 

accounting

OR

audit
 

        Search statement:  enron and (collapse or fall)and (accounting oraudit)

AND narrows your search - the result must include all terms entered.

OR broadens your search  - the result should include either of the terms entered or both..

NOT excludes a search term from your set.  Caution:  “Not” must be used very carefully.  If you write the statement children not adults you will eliminate articles that contain information on both children and adults.  Sometimes the phrase and not replaces not.
 

enron and collapse

collapse or fall

not sempra energy

Distance Education boolean AndImage demonstrating Boolean operator ORImage demonstrating Boolean operator NOT

4. Determine appropriate databases.  Before beginning a search, you must decide which database, if any, you should use.  To determine this information, ask yourself the following questions:
  •  What kind of information am I looking for?
  •  What is the primary subject area of the database?
  •  What dates does the database cover?
  •  Is the database full text?
  •  Is the database accessible remotely?
If you need assistance finding appropriate databases, please do not hesitate to utilize one of the Ask A Librarian services. 

For a more thorough explanation of constructing a search strategy, choosing a database, running your search, evaluating resources found, etc., please look at APOLLO: A Pace Online Library Literacy Orientation.  (This link will take you off this page.  Use your browser back button to return).