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How Do I...?

A guide to help you get started with library research.



Topic Selection and Research Plan

Before starting searching for information, spend some time thinking about your topic and what information you need.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I know about my topic?

  • What do I want to know?

    • What is my topic? (Is my topic to narrow or too broad?)

    • What is my research question?

  • How will I find this information?

    • What words will I use when searching? (Think about synonyms and professional language that experts use)

    • What databases will I access to search?


Use these worksheets (below) to help you with planning our your research.

Remember your first search is never your last search. It often takes many different combinations of searching to get to the information you want. 


Research is not linear. You may have to revisit your topic and research question multiple times while doing your research.

Selecting choosing and using the most useful keywords can be challenging. These videos can help you with your brainstorming about keywords.

Once you have useful keywords, combine them with Boolean Operators to create a powerful search string.