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(Re)search Cycle

There is no wrong way to start or end research. The most important thing is to stay consistent with whatever pattern or method you choose to follow. That way, you can build on your prior work, instead of recreating it each time you start a new session.

Citation Mining

The best research method is the one that works for you, as long as you abide by good information literacy practices. Here is one potential research method for this project:

  1. Enter your search terms in the ADS. Consider how their search syntax can help narrow/expand your results.
  2. Evaluate results for relevancy. Look at title, abstract, data/images, and date (is it current enough?)
    1. If you are keeping a Research Log, fill it out with these results and your terms
  3. Save any relevant articles to Zotero or your chosen bookmark/citation manager. (Consider making specific subcollections in Zotero to help yourself stay organized [The Zotero browser button will save items to whichever subcollection is highlighted in your desktop application).
  4. Select an article that you find useful and use either (or both!) the ADS or Web of Science to track who has cited it/who it has cited. Scan those results for relevancy and add anything 

Google Scholar

Web of Science

Identifying Keywords

Boolean Searching

Boolean Searching

Natural language searching and newer databases with responsive, custom search results are great for starting your research. They allow you to quickly see the lay of the land and identify general keywords to as you iterate and adapt your search strategy.

The best databases for the final stages of systematic prior art searching are transparent in how the search works. They allow you to be granular and precise with your keywords and phrases, and offer tools like proximity connectors to be as broad as you would like to be. They give you, the researcher, control over what you search. The traditional boolean search connectors are AND, OR, NOT, but, scientific research databases offer additional tools like proximity connectors, wildcards, and even regular expression.

Here are some links to the search syntax help guides of some the databases you may use in this course. To find this for other databases, use your preferred browser to search [Database name] Search Syntax. The help file from within a database will also typically have this information.


Search Examples

Web of Science

Core Citation help


Google Scholar

Search Tips

EBSCO Databases (OlinScholar)

Searching with Boolean Operators

How do I create a proximity search?

Searching with field codes

Using wildcards and truncation