Skip to Main Content
John B. Coleman Library Ask A Librarian

SOWK 4335: Intervention with Addicted Families: Search Strategy

The Dynamics of substance abuse includes social and economic factors that affects people indirectly by increasing the chances that they will be exposed to illicit drugs in their neighborhood at an early age and that the health consequences of their dru

Search Strategy

1. Identify main concepts

Take your research question and pull out the main concepts.  For the research question, Should college athletes be paid?, the main concepts are college athletes and paid.

2. List search terms

Next, list the terms you'll use for searching.  For each main concept, come up with synonyms and related terms, both narrower and broader.  (Hint: your mind map might come in handy here.)  Here are some search terms for the key concepts above.















3. Combine search terms with AND and OR

AND finds items containing both (or more) terms, narrowing your search. Use AND to combine your main concepts.

college AND athletes AND pay

OR finds items containing either term, broadening your search. Use OR to combine synonyms or related terms.

college OR university

If using both AND and OR, use ( ) to set apart concepts, like a math equation.

(college OR university) AND athletes AND (pay OR compensation)


Research 101 (A how-to guide): Step 3. create a search strategy. Guides. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2022, from

John B. Coleman Library
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 519, MS 1040, Prairie View, Texas 77446
Physical Address: L.W. Minor St. / University Drive, Prairie View, Texas 77446
Reference: (936) 261-1535, Circulation: (936) 261-1542

Library Hours