Every first search is an educated guess about what search terms will best connect you with the articles and books you need.
Before you begin, think about the concepts that will need to be present in the articles and books you need. For example, if I am interested in modernist novelists--James Joyce for example, I will definitely want to include the concepts of "modernism", "James Joyce," and "novels" or "novelists" in my search for information. Our three concepts would be:
Now that we know what concepts we want to search, we need to think about other terms authors may be using to describe those same concepts. If authors are using different language to describe the concepts, we may not see their articles or books in our search results. Let’s list out some synonyms and related terms below our concepts.
|"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"
Now we can combine our search terms with Boolean Operators to construct our first search:
(modernism OR symbolism) AND "James Joyce" AND (novels OR Ulysses)
If we searched for information using that string of search terms, our search results would show every article and book that references either modernism or symbolism and also mentions James Joyce and either "novels" or the novel "Ulysses" in particular.