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How to research: Searching Techniques

Help finding and evaluating resources

Searching

Define your task

What type of assignment are you doing?  Are you writing an essay, report or dissertation?  Or are you doing some practical research or creating a film from a piece of art?  This will affect the quantity and types of information you need to gather.

Plan ahead

Form your search strategy before you begin. The more effort you put into your search strategy, the more relevant your search results will be. This will save you time in the long run.

Develop your key words

You need to identify keywords for each of the main concepts of your research topic.  

The words you use to describe your topic will have a big influence on the success of your search, so it worth spending time working out all the possible variations you could use.

Alternative keywords

Related keywords

Broader keywords

Narrower keywords

Singular & plural keywords

 

Keyword spellings

 

Develop your search strategy

Boolean Operators

Truncation

Wildcards

Phrase Searching

Complex Boolean

ProximitySearches

Fielded Searches

Setting Search Boundaries

Place

Time Period/Currency

Population

Language

Refine your results

Too many results?

Too few results?