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Agricultural and Biological Engineering

For Penn State students, faculty and staff in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering department, including Biorenewable Systems, Agricultural Systems, and Bioproducts.

Article Search Tips

Finding the best articles on your topic requires these steps.

  • Select an appropriate database.
  • Enter and combine terms appropriate to your topic
  • Scan the best items on the results list and look for new subject terms or keywords. Then revise your search using these new terms.
  • Save the journal title, volume, date, and page numbers.  This is all part of the "citation". 
  • Explore other databases and subject terms (which vary between databases) for more information.

Search Strategy Builder

Steps for building your search strategy

  1. Write out your topic in the form of a research question.
  2. Identify the main concepts of your topic
  3. Brainstorm synonyms for each concept
 
Concepts and keywords
Instructions Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3
Break the research question into concepts and put one concept in each box.

List alternatives for each concept.

These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.

Use single words or short phrases.

Find additional terms in abstracts and summaries of the articles, books, and other sources you find during initial searches.

Search terms Search terms Search terms

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Search Strategy Builder was originally created by University of Arizona Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Next Steps

  1. Paste the above search statement into the database of your choice
  2. Scan the best items on the results list and look for new subject terms or keywords. Then revise your search using these new terms.
  3. Explore other databases and subject terms (which vary between databases) for more information.

Evaluating Resources

Think critically about web sites and print resources.  

  • AuthorityWho is the author or creator?  What are their credentials for this topic?
  • Content: What is the author's bias? Who was the information written for?
  • CurrencyWhat is the publication date?  When was the website last updated? Does this matter for your topic?
  • ValidityIs the information accurate or valid?  Are there references to other works that support the information?
  • Publisher: Do they have a good reputation?