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RELS-214: The New Testament

Search Strategies

The key to successful searching is not in the quantity of search results, but rather how relevant and appropriate they are to the topic.

Whether you are searching the web with a search engine such as Google, or searching a research tool such as Summon, the library catalogue (QCAT) or another library database, there are some common search techniques that can be employed to improve the efficiency of the search.

In order to retrieve the most relevant results, you will need to construct a search string.  A search string is a combination of keywords, truncation symbols, and boolean operators you enter into the search box of a library database or search engine. 

For more information on how to develop a search strategy that will assist you to locate relevant information, check out the University of Saskatchewan Library's guide.

The following diagram illustrates the steps of the research process. Although most of us are inclined to spend most of our time exclusively on "step 4: Use indexes to find periodical articles," your research results will be higher quality -- and the searches themselves more efficient '' if you do a bit of legwork beforehand. The premise: start with a broad perspective and narrow it down only after you have the appropriate keywords/vocabulary.