Getting Started with Academic Research: Search Basics

Welcome to the University Libraries at Virginia Tech! The libraries are a hub of research and learning for Virginia Tech, and we are here to help you! Explore the pages of this guide for guidance on beginning your academic research.

Developing Keywords

Finding Books in the Library

From Keywords to Database Search

Search Strategy Builder

Search Strategy Builder

The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into the standard database search boxes.

Write out your research question or topic thesis as a sentence.

  Concept 1 and Concept 2 and Concept 3
Extract the major concepts from your sentence above and enter them here.    

List alternatives for each concept.

These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.

Use single words or short phrases.

Find additional terms in abstracts and summaries of the articles, books, and other sources you find during initial searches.

Search terms Search terms Search terms

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Search Strategy Builder created by University of Arizona Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.