What you need to know:
- the basic vocabulary surrounding your topic (including any subject-specific jargon, synonyms, alternative phrases, etc.)
- the difference between keyword and subject searching
- how to use Boolean operators
- how to use truncation
- the different ways of sorting and limiting your results
What you will learn & need to take note of in the course of searching:
- the best subject headings/keywords
- prominent authors
- prominent journals
Try to avoid:
- spending too much time on the 'newest' articles--a lot of databases put the newest articles first. Don't forget the older stuff, it can be very relevant and influential!
- getting sidetracked into articles that are only tangentially related to your field of study.