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University of Portland Clark Library

ENG 107: College Writing (Blumenthal): Developing & Exploring

Creating an Effective Search Strategy

  1. Start by writing a short description of your topic, such as:

    Use of cell phones in the college classroom

  2. Next, identify the key concepts of your topic, and brainstorm alternate terms:

    college: college, university, higher education

    cell phones: cell phones, smartphones

  3. Use the asterisk (*) to find different variations of search terms:

    college* matches results with: college or colleges

    universit* matches results with: university or universities

Advice on Developing a Topic

"Like many students, Jennie thinks that once a project is assigned she should pick her topic right away. Then she can move on to finding sources and reading through them. And once she has all her sources, she can start writing her paper. However, the research process is a lot messier than that."

Watch this video to learn more!

Explore Popular Press Publications

Search Popular Press Publications to see how your topic is being explained and discussed in newspaper and magazine articles.

Explore Reference eBooks

Go beyond Wikipedia. Search Reference eBooks to find definitions or overviews related to your topic. | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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