Develop a research project focusing on Indigenous food sovereignty, environmental justice, and nutritional issues.
One of the more important processes in conducting research is designing a search strategy. You should use your search strategy when using library search tools/databases. The following are things to consider in designing your strategy:
Analyze your topic
It is important to clarify what you are interested in finding out about your topic; familiarize yourself with the key issues and context. Begin by creating a research question.
Your research question may evolve and change over time. Sometimes using a format to phrase your question helps:I’m researching _____ to investigate _____ in order to understand _____.This structure give you a way to keep your question narrow, identifying just the area that you are studying and helping your reader position the question within a field.
You may need to find information in different kinds of sources [ Books | Journals | Newspapers | Magazines | Media (images, video, sound recordings)]
You may need to use more than one library tool (database, etc.) [ Some examples: Sociological Abstract | Academic Search Complete | P.A.I.S.Index | UW Libraries Search]
You may need to explore a subject over a period of time [ For example: 5 years | 20 years | 1960s | 19th Century | 20th Century |Current ]
Create a list of Related Terms. Another way to express this, is to create a list of synonyms for the important concepts in or associated with your topic.
Narrower terms: (Good for limiting your search, excluding irrelevant information, or adding focus to your search)
Population -gender (men, women), age (children/teens, adults, elderly), groups (artist, educators, politicians, clergy, ethnic/racial groups, etc.)
Geography - towns, cities, states, countries, regions
Time Period - current, decade, 21st Century, ancient
Broader terms: (Allow you to explore the broader context of your topic. Good if you're having difficulty finding sources)
Create a Search Query
Many of our databases or search tools require that you use AND or OR to combine multiple terms/keywords in a search. See examples below:
American Indians AND food sovereignty (narrows your search, all the terms 'American Indians and food sovereignty' must appear)
American Indians OR Native Americans (broadens your search, one of the terms must appear. Good for use with synonyms.)
food sovereignty AND (American Indians OR Native Americans) (combines connectors AND/OR together in a search)
Use a technique called truncation with the * symbol to search additional forms of a word when using a search tool or database.
Example: politic* will also find politic, political, politically, politician, politicians, politics.
American Indians AND politic*
Be aware that the truncation symbol may vary depending on the database (*,#,?,!) are the most common.