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Identify Main Concepts

Once you've written a research question, break that question down by identifying the main terms or concepts. 


I am studying the properties and applications of fractals in real world phenomena because I want to know how they contribute to mathematical modeling and analysis



Generate Synonyms

List synonyms for the keywords that you underlined in your research question. 

Fractals Real World Phenomena Mathematical Modeling
Self-similarity Natural phenomena Computational modeling

Chaos theory

Physical manifestations Mathematical simulation
Iterated function systems Practical applications Numerical modeling

Create Search Strings

Unlike with Google, where you can type in full sentences or questions, when searching in any of the library resources (Primo, journals, or databases) you may need to use the Boolean Operators AND, OR, and NOT to string together your search terms.



Other Search Tips

Truncate Root Words Phrases Use multiple search terms and parentheses in your search strings

Using an * at the end of a word such as math* will bring back everything with that root (mathematics, mathematical, mathnasium). 

Putting quotation marks around a phrase will tell Primo to keep those words together. For example: "natural phenomena."

Social media without quotes could bring back articles on how natural resources are used and religious phenomena

The words natural and phenomena both appear, but without being linked together, it's not the concept of social media that you're looking for.

Math* AND "natural phenomena" AND (mathematical computation OR numerical modeling)

Using parentheses is a lot like the distributive property in math. The search inside the parentheses is done first. 

Try to be as specific as possible with your search. Using a search such as fractals in art and nature, how fractals work, and applications of fractals in math. 

Instead, try being specific about what you are searching for. For example, if my topic is the application of fractals in real world phenomena on numerical computation, then I might use the search string "natural phenomena" AND math* AND numerical applications.

Be Aware:

Use truncation carefully. For example: Cell* will bring back everything from cellular phones to cellulitis, so you could inadvertently increase your search with irrelevant results. 


Be Aware:

Stringing multiple search terms together using AND narrows your search. Therefore, sometimes stringing too many terms together with AND can make your search so narrow you receive few, or no, results.