For this class you should use books and peer-reviewed, academic journals. Magazine and newspaper articles may also be used but keep in mind they are not scholarly sources. Using a healthy balance of many kinds of sources will enhance your paper and provide multiple perspectives.
1. Start with the words that are familiar to you. If your research topic is: What is the US government doing to stop the spread of Ebola?
Your possible search terms might be: Ebola AND Prevention
Each of these terms is entered into separate search boxes on the database search screen.
But this search may not and probably will not yield the best results. If you retrieve more than 50 items there is good reason to revise your search to obtain results closer to what you want.
One major thing you can do to make your search more precise and useful: determine additional synonyms or related terms that more closely describe your topic. Often these are more specific subject headings and use academic language. You can add these additional terms and join them in the same line. If you revise your search you might include terms such as Biosecurity, World Health, Africa, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Quarantine, You could also name specific countries: Liberia, SIerra Leone, etc.
Subjects can be used in combination with Boolean searching to obtain the closest possible articles to the topic you are searching. (This means the more confident you are of your topic the better the results.)
A revised search might look like this:
Ebola AND Prevention AND Centers for Disease Control AND Travel AND Africa
Some databases have a subject word list called a thesaurus. The thesaurus gives narrower, broader and related terms that are more commonly used. This list is the same as the terms found in the article description under Subject.
You should know that there are three Boolean operators:
AND--each of the words or terms must be in the record, AND reduces the number of results.
OR--increases the size of the set you are searching.
NOT--excludes a particular word or concept from the search.
Here is the fairly comprehensive list of sources that cover global issues. There are many other databases accessible through Zondervan Library that are not mentioned in this list but may be found on the main ZL page.