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Successful Searching

Search Strategy

6 Steps to Successful Searching

From Topic to Research Question

Understand your topic:   

  1. Understand the terms being used
  2. Depth of information required
  3. Are limits needed?

Write your topic as a question:

  1. It should be Clear, Concise, Focused & Arguable
  2. It should provide a definitive for research
  3. It should allow you develop a specific argument
  4. It should give you direction for search.
  5. It should provide boundaries.

What's a Search Strategy?

Before beginning to find sources to use in your assignment, essay, project or thesis, you need to have some idea what it is you're looking for. Information on this page will help you to develop a strategy for searching.


A search strategy is an organised structure of key terms used to search a database. The search strategy combines the key concepts of your search question in order to retrieve accurate results. (Leeds Uni)

The Research Cycle

Library Class on Successful Searching

Academic Staff: To further support learners, we have developed a class on successful searching. These sessions can be booked by contacting us here.

Students: Attend one of our Library & Information Skills Tutorials (LIST) or take one of our interactive LIST Online Tutorials.

Concept Mapping

Concept mapping is a form of brainstorming. It uses a cluster diagram that illustrates how ideas are related. This type of graphical tool typically uses circles or boxes to represent concepts and connecting lines to map relationships. It can help organize your thoughts.