1) Think carefully about your topic. Write it out in a sentence or two.
2) Circle the key concepts in your topic sentences.
3) Brainstorm synonyms or related terms for your key concepts. One approach to brainstorming is to create a concept map. You can do this with simple pen and paper or via free online programs such as Coggle (you will need to sign in with a Google account to use Coggle) or Bubbl.us.
4) The terms you came up with in step 3 are your search terms. Experiment with different combinations of the terms using AND/OR.
5) When you successfully find sources that are relevant to your search, pay attention to the keywords and subject terms in the database record and the source itself. This may lead you to additional sources.