Skip to Main Content

SCIE2230: Science of Health and Wellness: Developing a Search Strategy


This guide was designed to assist with researching an infectious or chronic disease as well as to provide general library information.

Need help with research and citation? Contact your librarian or schedule a meeting using the links below.

Search Strategy

For any search, it is helpful to develop a search strategy before you begin so that your search is narrowed and focused.

1. Define your topic

Decide what you want to research based upon your assignment requirements. For this course, you are researching an infectious or chronic disease and researching the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of that disease.

Selecting a Disease to Research

It's always best to choose a research topic that interests you. You may want to research a disease that impacted you or someone you know, but you also may want to choose something completely new.

Consider choosing something from the course or course textbook, or check out one of the links below (tip: health agencies are great sources of information for this project!)

2. Choose your keywords

Identify the main concepts in your question and develop keywords based upon that question. Brainstorm synonyms and related concepts for your keywords. 

Make your search more effective by using Boolean operators and other search symbols. Note that search engines may use the same or different operators/search symbols.

  • AND - find all of the terms (ex. "multiple sclerosis" AND treat*)

  • OR - find any of the terms (ex. "inflammatory bowel disease" OR IBS).

  • NOT - exclude a certain term (ex. Canada NOT "United States")

The "quotation marks" in the above examples limit to a specific phrase which can help to narrow your search. The asterisk truncates your search to look for variations in suffixes (treat* will find treatment, treating, treated, etc.)

EXAMPLE: A search string based upon the above concepts could be:

("inflammatory bowel disease" OR IBS) AND ("risk factors" OR diet OR nutrition)

3. Select your search tools

You can find credible information using Library Search, the main search box on the library homepage. You also may need to select subject specific resources and/or search engines like Google to fully answer your research question. It is highly recommended to search both to find a breadth of authoritative sources on your topic.

Check the Finding Information tab on this guide for more information.

4. Search, refine, and search again

Search for your topic, refine your search string, and then search again. Research is an iterative process and searching is explorative.

Contact your librarian

Profile Photo
Kevin Tanner
Reg Erhardt Library
Stan Grand Centre, MC119
chat loading...