Often when doing research you’ll begin with a question or a topic and need to figure out how to translate that into keywords - search terms - that can be entered into a research database. Choosing keywords that will get you relevant search results is more of a craft than an exact science, but here are some tips:
Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to try all of these techniques with every search! Sometimes one or two will work and you can stop when you've found the information that you need.
*What is scanning? Scanning is looking for specific information in a text rather than reading every word.
Do you have to read every article or book you find to determine if it's relevant to your research topic? No! Here are some techniques to try instead:
*What is skimming? Skimming is reading for the main idea of a text. Rather than reading an entire article all the way through, read the abstract (if it has one), the introduction or first few paragraphs to get an idea of the main purpose or argument of the paper, and the conclusion. For a book you would read the table of contents and check the index to find any chapters or sections relevant to your research, read the introduction to get an overview of the main purpose or argument of the book, and read the final chapter for any conclusions.