Strategian Logo

The Strategic Guide to Quality Information in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics, and Psychology

space space

Information Strategy--Step 2: Identify

red bar

After using Step 1 and deciding on a topic that you can work with successfully, Step 2 of the Strategy involves finding (or identifying) sources of information that are specific to your topic.

What are sources of information? They can be almost anything--articles from research-oriented/scholarly journals or popular press magazines or newspapers, books, documents from federal or state governments, speeches, papers presented at conferences, symposia, or other meetings, information from Web sites, etc. Or, in the case of reference works, articles or entries from encyclopedias and dictionaries, tables of statistical data from handbooks and manuals, and so on.

  • Generally, the quickest and most effective way to find relevant sources of information (save for reference works) is to use appropriate indexes (examples) and abstracts (examples).
    • As you can see from the examples, abstracts can provide much more information about an article, book, or document and thus give you a much better idea of whether that publication is worth pursuing ... saving you time during the process of actually obtaining copies of the articles, books, and so on that you need.

There are thousands of indexes and abstracts that are currently published covering virtually any subject. The following links contain a list of the indexes and abstracts that you will want to try first as you go about trying to find the most useful articles, books, documents, etc. for your topic:

You might also be looking for a specific fact. In this case, the following links present likely encyclopedias, dictionaries, guides, manuals, handbooks, Internet sites, and so on that might contain the specific piece of information that you are searching for:

Keep in mind that sometimes that elusive bit of information will not be found in a handy encyclopedia or manual and must instead be sifted out of an entire article or book.

A note of caution ...

Your local library may give you the opportunity to access a variety of indexes, abstracts, and reference materials online. Searching in this way usually gives you powerful capabilities not available when the same publications are used manually in their print forms.

It is very important, when searching these sources online, to use the correct commands and to understand how they are organized. Different online publications are usually searched in different ways.

The moral of this story is to use the help information provided for the publication or system that you are searching in order to use them in the most effective manner.

Questions? Please let me know.

Go To ...


Information Strategy--printable copy
(in PDF; requires the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™)

Information Strategy--PowerPoint Slides

Forward to Locate

Back to Define

Back to the Information Strategy


Updated 3:00 p.m. CT October 5, 2004
Kevin Engel (
My Web Pages
URL of this page:
© 1998-Present Kevin Engel