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LEAD 150: Approaches to Learning: Search Strategy

Search Strategy

Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research:

  • Begin by narrowing down your topic and developing an initial research question.
  • Use the keyword brainstorming worksheet (or this online keyword generator) to help you tweak your research question, identify keywords and related terms, and keep track of what you find.  
  • Search in a library catalog (Summon, OBISOhioLINK and/or WorldCat) to find books and reference sources.  These sources will:
    • provide BACKGROUND and CONTEXT
    • REVIEW and SUMMARIZE earlier work
    • help you FOCUS your topic and
    • provide CITATIONS to important books, journal articles, conference papers, interviews, etc.
  • Next, search research databases to find articles. The library has hundreds of databases; those listed on this guide are good places to begin.
  • You may also wish to use Google Scholar to search the Internet.  This is a great tool for doing cited reference searches.
  • Finally, use the CRAAP test worksheet to evaluate the sources you find.

Managing Your Research Time

These assignment calculators help break down research projects into a series of manageable steps, and gives some tips on what to do at each step along the way.  Enter your project's due date to get started!

The Assignment Calculator (Univ. of British Columbia)
The Assignment Calculator (University of Minnesota)
The Assignment Calculator  (SUNY Empire State College) -- this one has sections for taking notes!


These are just a few examples. There are other similar tools out there on the internet. 

Librarian / Research Help

Contact:Eboni A. Johnson (she/her/hers)
104 Mudd Center
(Mary Church Terrell Main Library)
ejohnson@oberlin.edu
440-775-5026



  • HOW DO I ….?
    Watch these videos for advice & support on using library resources and doing research. Visit us at https://libraries.oberlin.edu/ to chat with us in real-time, schedule a research appointment, or send us an email message.