[35] Back to Basics: The three minute search strategy for pedagogic research


Back to Basics: The three minute search strategy for pedagogic research

Author (s)

Philippa Price Subject Librarian
Sam Oakley


Researchers who are exploring pedagogic research may need to adapt their usual methods of literature searching. As an expert in your subject, you already know the major researchers in your field. You may not be so familiar with those researchers who are key to the areas of pedagogy that interest you. You may need to learn a new set of search terms to find the papers you need. This quick workshop (30 minutes) on the Three Minute Search Strategy can help you get ‘back to basics’ to formulate your ideas and help you to search more efficiently.

The workshop will give you the opportunity to try out the three minute search strategy for yourself. The strategy is helpful for identifying the concepts and keywords around a topic and for breaking down a topic into searchable chunks. These chunks can inform a literature search.

As well as helping your own pedagogic research, the three minute search strategy can be used effectively with your students. Once you have tried it yourself, you can implement it in your own teaching to help your students to identify concepts and keywords in their research.

This session will be facilitated by Sam Oakley and Philippa Price from ISS.

Session Outline

The session will run as a short workshop. The facilitators will introduce the three minute search strategy – an effective means of developing a literature search. It is particularly helpful for those who are relatively new to pedagogic research, but who may be experienced researchers in their own field. It allows participants to use a form of free association to formulate and develop ideas around a particular topic without relying on expert subject knowledge.

This strategy helps participants to break down their topic into searchable chunks and to identify the concepts and keywords around their topic. It is an effective literature searching strategy for your own research, including the research and reading necessary for qualifications such as the PG Cert and HEA Fellowship, but can also be applied as a teaching activity to help your own students explore and plan their research topics.

Key Words

Search strategies,pedagogic research, free association,literature searching

Key Messages

  • Participants will go ‘back to basics’ to plan a research strategy outside their area of subject expertise
  • Participants will generate keywords that can be used in their pedagogic literature searching
  • Participants will experience a learning activity that they can use in their own teaching



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