1. Generate a set of search terms related to your topic. These will be the keywords with which you begin searching.
Higher education motivation students
post-secondary education behavior undergraduates
tertiary education intention first year students
colleges psychology first generation students
2. Combine your search terms using various strategies.
Employ the AND operator to narrow your search to results that mention both keywords: first generation students AND experiences will capture items that discuss both concepts.
Use the OR operator to broaden your search by using variants or synonyms of the same keyword: Higher education OR universities
The asterisk (*) is a wildcard symbol that is used to catch various endings of a word: motiv* captures items with keywords that begin with motiv-- (motive, motivate, motivation, etc.).
Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase: "first year students"
Research is not a linear process. Research requires repetition of the same processes--utilizing background information, developing a research question, collecting evidence--in order to eventually define and develop a research question that is significant and manageable.
(Process chart courtesy of A.Carr, 2011)