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Human Information Behavior (17:610:510): Constructing a Search

Library research guide for Human Information Behavior (17:610:510).

Basic Searching Review

For basic review of topic development, search construction, and evaluating sources, the course guides for some of the writing-intensive courses may be helpful, such as:

The ‘Get Help’ tab on the red bar on the library homepage is the place to find assistance in using library resources, tutorials, research guides, and ways to contact a librarian for more in-depth help. Use the ‘Services & Tools’ tab for information on how borrow or otherwise access resources.

Search Tips for This Topic

CONSTRUCTING A SEARCH has some useful advice on turning your initial idea into search terms and then combining those terms.

Some useful phrases to try for the ‘information behavior’ part of your search string:

  • information seeking behavior, information seeking, information behavior
  • reference needs, research needs, research behavior
  • library use, internet use, information use

Using Research Guides


These are put together by librarians to quickly direct you to the most useful resources in a specific subject area. Access Research Guides from the ‘Get Help’ tab on the library home page. Research Guides help you find the best databases and journals in a particular area.

There are seven Research Guides in the Library and Information Science folder, and six under Communication. More specific subject guides will also be important; for example, if you were interested in information seeking behavior concerning Nutrition, and pulled up Help Resources in the Nutrition Research Guide, the link on the reliability of popular sources might be useful. Research Guides also link you to the specialist subject librarians at Rutgers. There is also a search box at the top of the listing page if you don’t see what you’re looking for.

  • Tip: Use a library science Research Guide to approach your topic from that direction, then use a subject-specific Research Guide to approach your topic from the other direction.
  • You don’t need to restrict yourself to the ones at Rutgers. Try typing your topic into Google and just adding the word LibGuide or Research Guide to the end of the search—it will pull up LibGuides created at other libraries as well. We may not have all the same resources, but these can be very helpful. Or go to .

Using Wikipedia/Google Effectively


Yes, they DO have a place in your research – as places to get you started.

  • Use Wikipedia to orient yourself to an unfamiliar topic, then follow out the sources they reference (usually at the bottom of an entry) to get to the material you might actually be able to use and cite. This can also help you determine if your topic is a good one, or too narrow or too broad.
  • When you search Google, use limiters that help you find scholarly material. Try things like “information seeking behavior hispanic neonatal scholarly.” When you find a good article, you can then follow ITS references out to find further material.
  • Pro tip: Once you find a good scholarly journal article on Google, go back to an appropriate library database and look it up. Within the database entry for the article, you will find the subject headings assigned to it. You can then follow THOSE out to more material.

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