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Researching COVID-19

Be Current

Before you start researching make sure you have an up to date understanding of the main points of COVID-19. How many cases? Where are the major outbreaks? Have there been any new developments? The following websites will provide the most current facts, look at your local government and news outlets for more specific information.

Developing a Search Strategy

Developing a search strategy will be key in helping you find the information for your assignment. This page will go over skills to develop your search strategy. The next page we will look at different outlets and databases you might want to then apply your search strategy to.

Below we'll talk about keywords and COVID-19, you'll want to apply that same technique to the rest of your search as well.

Your search strategy should evolve and change through some trial and error. You should try different databases, search terms and filters through the process. Looking for more information on developing a search strategy? See our Google research tutorial or Library Research tutorial.


Developing your keywords will be crucial when researching COVID-19. How many other terms besides "COVID-19" could you search? You'll want to identify all the possible synonyms for your terms so that you don't miss anything you might really want. These terms can also shift based on your discipline. A health science source may use "SARS-CoV-2", but a marketing resource may only use terms like "Covid", "COVID-19" and "coronavirus".

Keywords may also require fine tuning. Using the Seneca Libraries search for "coronavirus" you'll see that there are thousands of articles, and they are even peer reviewed! Look closely though, you will see many of these articles date back years. That's because "coronavirus" is actually a category for a group of viruses. This virus group also includes the virus' that cause MERS and SARS. If you are searching for Coronavirus in health sciences, you'll want to be specific. If you are searching for Coronoavirus and impact on the economy, you might be okay with just using "coronavirus" in addition to your other search terms.

Don't forget to keep a list of the keywords you've come up with!

coronavirus search on library website has articles from 2014 and 2016

Tip: Combine multiple search terms

You can combine multiple search terms by using quotations marks, brackets and the terms AND, OR, NOT. A good search term could be

"coronavirus" OR "COVID-19" OR "SARS-CoV-2"

This will provide you with resources that use any one of those terms, and therefore expands your search.

Be a Historian and Find Similarities

Now that we know Coronavirus is actually a group of viruses, we can find related content and see if we can apply that to our research question. Researchers often look at prior events that have similarities to help them anticipate what might happen. Depending on your topic you might have different related events that you can pull information from.

  • If you are looking to research collective trauma, you may find that looking for research on people living in war zones is similar and can help you create a hypothesis.
  • If you are looking to examine the economic impact, something like the financial crisis of 2008 can provide some insight.
  • Doing health science research, look for related viruses and diseases.
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