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Community Patrons Research Guide: Getting Started with Research

This guide is intended for people who are not UK students, faculty, or staff.

Step 1: Identify Keywords

Identify keywords by scanning:

  • the main points of your question
  • encyclopedias or bibliographies found at the end of a book or article
  • a thesaurus for synonyms

Step 2: General Search Strategies

The easiest way to search for information electronically is to enter a couple of keywords into the search box of the resource and see what type of results you get. This strategy, however, will often result in too few, too many, or irrelevant results.

In order to retrieve the most relevant results, you will need to construct a search string: a combination of keywords, truncation symbols, and boolean operators you enter into the search box of an electronic library resource or an Internet search engine.

Generating Search Terms