- Narrow down your subject to a workable topic that can be expressed in a specific, concise statement or question.
- Divide your topic into two or more concepts.
- Generate a list of words and phrases that identify or define each of the concepts from step 2.
- Enter your words and phrases on the grid below:
Enter additional limitations below the grid. These limitations to your search can usually be enforced by checking a box, selecting an option, or filling in a text box on the database’s search screen.
- Synonymous or related words that describe one concept should be listed vertically in the same column. These words can then be searched with the “or” operator as in “drugs or alcohol.” This finds items in which either one or both of the terms are present.
- Words for the second concept are then entered in column 2. The two concepts can be searched together using the “and” operator as in “drugs and abuse and remedies.” This statement restricts the search to only items in which both terms are present. There is no limit to the number of concepts you can use but 2-4 is usually a good number.