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NSF LEARN

Search Strategies

Creating a Search Strategy

Do you need some help with beginning your research? 

The research process is much easier if you follow a few simple steps. Do you need some help getting started on your research?

See the links below for printable examples and for more information. 

Need help finding synonyms? Check http://thesaurus.com

Search Tips

  • Analyse your topic: identify the main ideas or concepts you need to research
  • Develop a list of search terms including keywords and phrases
  • Consider alternative spellings and different word endings
  • Use more specific words or add words using AND to narrow your search
  • Use synonyms, related terms, or combine words using OR to broaden your search
  • Exclude words from your catalog search results using NOT
  • Use the Advance keyword search to search a particular building location, date of publication, language or format.

Boolean Operators Venn Diagram

Boolean Operators and Narrowing Your Topic

Using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), to further limit ideas, concepts and topics. Use one or more of the following with your topic to narrow down an aspect of your topic. 

  • argument
  • attitudes
  • benefits
  • confronting
  • crimes against
  • crisis
  • criticism
  • debate
  • definition
  • ethics
  • health aspects
  • interviews
  • issues
  • (laws or regulations)
  • outcomes
  • outlook
  • political aspects
  • policy
  • prevention
  • projects
  • properties
  • psychological aspects
  • public opinion
  • reform
  • religious aspects
  • rights
  • research
  • social policy
  • statistical data
  • structure
  • theories
  • trend
  • usage
  • viewpoint

Remember to use "quotation marks" around phrases to search for words as phrases. 

Last updated on Jun 3, 2024 1:06 PM - Guide Creator(s)