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English 100: Search Strategy

Links and resources for English 100 research, including Persuasive Essay and Research Essay resources.

Starting Your Research

Starting your research can be a challenge and the Library is here to help.

For suggestions on getting started on your Persuasive Essay, click here.

For a guide with links on starting your research, click here.

For support, answers, and help at any stage of your research, please contact the Librarian, or the Library Help Desk.

  • Help is available in person, by phone, by email, or by online chat.

Boolean Searching

This brief video will walk you through how Boolean searching works. (Double click video to expand.)

Search Strategy

(adapted by Kate Cushon)


1. Describe your topic. You can simply use an assigned topic, or describe your topic or thesis statement in your own words.


  In view of the apparently increasing number of incidents in public facilities such as schools and shopping malls involving firearms, the question of stricter control naturally arises. After briefly considering both points of view, I believe gun controls should/should not be tightened in Canada.


2. Identify the main concepts in your topic.


Concept #1                                      Concept #2                                        Concept #3

                                                                       firearms                                             control                                           Canada

3. Identify synonyms for the concepts. Use a thesaurus, or identify synonyms from literature and resources you already have.  Synonyms (and alternate spellings) should be placed in columns or any way that indicates their grouping.

                      Concept #1                                       Concept #2                                      Concept #3

                        firearm                                               control                                              Canada

                   or  handgun                                       or  restrict                                        or

                   or  gun                        AND              or   licence               AND                 or 

                   or  weapon                                         or  tighten                                        or

                   or                                                       or  limit                                            or


4. Organize search statement in logical groups of ideas:

      (gun* or handgun* or firearm* or weapon*) AND (control* or restrict* or licence* or tighten* or limit*) AND Canad*

[* = wildcard; e.g. Canad* searches for Canada, Canadian, Canadians, etc.]


5. Use limits as appropriate and available:

  •        geographical (Canada, prairies, Saskatchewan, Regina, etc.)
  •        chronological (last 5 years, 6 months, last week, etc.)
  •        format (books, peer-reviewed articles, newspapers, reliable websites, etc.)
6. Select relevant databases.  Use the database search, use QuickFind, or use suggestions from your subject's LibGuide.
7. Perform your search.
8. Don't forget to evaluate the resources you find, and document what you use according to your class or discipline's standards.

Subject Guide

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Kate Cushon
Archer Library
Treaty 4 Territory and Homelands of the M├ętis people