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Research Guides

ISEM101-Climate Change: Science and Myth: Getting started on research

Climate Change

Muir Glacier melt, Alaska.  1941 photo taken by Ulysses Willioam O. Field; 2004 photo taken by Bruce F. Molnia.  Courtesy of the Glacier Photography Collection, National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.

Search strategy

To successfully search for information on your topic, it is best to determine the main concepts and then find keywords for those concepts. The keywords can become your search words.  In general, you should search library databases approximately 3 keywords, rather than your whole topic question or a sentence.  

For example, your research question is  Will climate change cause flooding in cities around the world?

Mark the keywords (italics in this example).

Then begin generating synonyms and related words to help you develop a search strategy.

Climate change cities    flooding  
climatic changes urban sea level rise  
global warming city flood  
ice melt town disaster   


In many databases, you could start your search by typing climate change cities flooding and it would automatically turn that search into: 

climate AND change AND cities AND flooding 

This is a search using Boolean logic


A more advanced Boolean search could be done like this:

("climat* change*" OR "global warming") AND (city OR cities OR urban) AND flood* 

In this example the * will also find different endings for the words, such as climate or climatic, flood, floods or flooding.

Here are some more tips for choosing keywords.

You can also find additional keywords by searching your topic in a database, finding a relevant item and noting the terms used in the description of that item. 

Your assignment

For your research poster assignment, you will need to find sources that address a climate change related topic.  Links in this guide will lead you to a variety of sources that are more reliable or documented than if you just did a web search.

Subject Guide

Diane Prorak's picture
Diane Prorak