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Journalism & Media Studies

Links and handouts used in class

Constructing a search strategy

Simple strategy for finding information

Here is a summary of what we practiced during the class session.

Step 1: Construct a search strategy.

  • State your question as a sentence.
  • Identify key concepts that must be present in the information source; use the connector AND.
  • Consider related terms that might be used for a key concept; use the connector OR
  • Use truncation symbol for word variations; use an (asterisk) or most databases; Lexis/Nexis uses  ! (exclamation mark).
  • Use “ “ (double quotation) for phrases. Don’t overuse phrase searching. Consider proximity connectors for phrase variation: n# or w#.

Step 2: Determine the type of information you need and where you might find it.

Available through the library.

Use OneSearch or the library databases to locate:

  • Books

    Historical, scholarly, research, summary and in-depth 
  • Journals

    Scholarly, research, in-depth, bibliography
  • Government Publications

    Research, primary, statistics
  • Magazines

    Current, popular culture, opinions, summary
  • Journals

    Scholarly, research, in-depth, bibliography
  • Newspapers

    Current events, popular, opinions
  • Trade/Professional

    Practitioner perspective, trends, products, technique

Available in library databases 

  • Data resources including country, industry, and company reports
  • Case law and legal information 
  • Tests and Measures, and research methodology
  • Images and videos

Use Internet search tool (Google, Bing, etc.)


  • Current, expert and popular opinion

Use Google Scholar

  • Journals- Scholarly, research, in-depth, bibliography

Step 3: Evaluate your information using the 5W + 1H model or SIFT method (for websites)  

  • Use the Advanced Evaluation Techniques tab on the left.

How to get help

If you need immediate assistance, check the Ask Us 24/7 link.

Good luck on your research project!