The building block of a library database search is keywords. Keywords are central ideas or terms within your research question or problem.
BOOLEAN SEARCH OPERATORS
Once you have your keywords identified (2-3 is a good place to begin), you then need to connect them together in a way the database understands how to search. This is done using the Boolean search operators AND, OR, and NOT. Connecting keywords using these search operators creates a search string.
We call the written version of your keywords with boolean search operators the search string. Writing your search string at the beginning of your research process will help you better approach searching in library databases.
Example search string
gravity OR gravitational field AND supernova OR stellar collision AND black hole
|The authors of the article conducted their own original research.||The authors synthesize and analyze known research on a particular topic to discover trends.|
|Has a specific structure: introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, references||Its structure can be changed depending on the topic studied.|
Uses first and second person like "We discovered" or "I found"
Refers primarily to "this study" (singular)
Uses third person like "they discovered" or "Choi and Wilson concluded"
Refers to multiple studies
|Its goal is to add a new contribution to scientific research.||Its goal is to summarize current research, draw connections, and show gaps needing further research.|