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Economics: Search Strategies

Find your topic

The first step in research is coming up with a research question. To get ideas you can:

Define your research topic

Once you have a topic in mind for your research paper, write it down as a question! Don't worry about getting your question perfect, you're just getting started.

For example: How do government bailouts affect the national economy?

Now you can identify the keywords in your question. In this case, government, bailouts, and national economy

Explore your topic

With a research question or topic ready to explore, it's time to start searching. Where you go next depends on what you need to know and what you need to find. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Books and encyclopedias for overviews and background information
  • News articles for placing your topic in context of current or contemporary events
  • Peer-reviewed or scholarly articles for in-depth research on a specific aspect of your topic
  • Trade journal articles to learn how a profession or trade might be affected by your topic
  • Government reports, if available, for additional analysis
  • Statistics and/or data that you can use to perform your own analysis
  • Financial information for industries or companies, if applicable to your topic


Best Bets

Here are a few databases to help you get started with your economics research:

Search Tips

  • Use the advanced search option when available. 
  • Get fewer results: Use AND. If your search gives you too many results, add another concept using the special word and. For example: economics and bailouts and tariffs
  • Get more results: Use truncation or OR. If you aren't getting the number of results you need, try truncation (*) For example, agricultur* will find agriculture, agricultural, and so on. Or if you have similar term, you can use the special word or. For example, farming or agriculture. 
  • Talk to a librarian. Librarians can help you find more terms to describe your topic, recommend different databases, and help you create customized searches. The Dacus Library offers a variety of ways to get individualized help