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Designing efficient search algorithms is a key challenge in unstructured peer-to-peer networks. Flooding and random walk (RW) are two typical search algorithms. Flooding searches aggressively and covers the most nodes. However, it generates a large amount of query messages and, thus, does not scale. On the contrary, RW searches conservatively. It only generates a fixed amount of query messages at each hop but would take longer search time. We propose the dynamic search (DS) algorithm, which is a generalization of flooding and RW. DS takes advantage of various contexts under which each previous search algorithm performs well. It resembles flooding for short-term search and RW for long-term search. Moreover, DS could be further combined with knowledge-based search mechanisms to improve the search performance. We analyze the performance of DS based on some performance metrics including the success rate, search time, query hits, query messages, query efficiency, and search efficiency. Numerical results show that DS provides a good tradeoff between search performance and cost. On average, DS performs about 25 times better than flooding and 58 times better than RW in power-law graphs, and about 186 times better than flooding and 120 times better than RW in bimodal topologies.