First, think about your search and break it down. Let's say you are looking for:
Second, chose your database. In the sample search we use the database SocINDEX with Full Text. We restrict our search to scholarly journals to ensure that we are looking only at peer reviewed articles.
Third, conduct your search. Try using 1) boolean operators (and, or, not) and 2) any useful truncation or wildcards (same root word with different endings or spellings).
Tip: Keep checking your relevant results for new terminology to add. The key to a strong search is to learn the terminology the literature uses to talk about a particular subject. For example, here reviewing the results led us to add "acculturation” (i.e. adopting the cultural practices of your country of residence) to Box 3.
Tip: Unlike Google, most databases do not automatically retrieve plurals or variant spellings. You must use truncation/wildcards for more comprehensive searches. Many databases use * for truncation, eg. Latin* retrieves latin, latino, latina, latinos, latinidad etc. and ? for a wildcard, eg. wom?n retrieves woman or women.
Try running a similar search in other databases (e.g. Sociological Abstracts). You might also try running an advanced search.
Like an article? Use it to find more like it!
It can sometimes be daunting to keep track of all the literature you've searched for and read on a particular subject. For that reason, it's useful to keep either a Search Journal or a Literature Review Matrix (see below). Several services also allow you to save your searches, including EBSCOHost and Web of Science.
Whatever strategy you choose, taking time to keep track of the articles you've found, how you found them, and the major findings or themes they present will make it much easier to write your final paper.